Chinese arms to Zimbabwe
Chinese arms shipment to Zimbabwe - role of companies
In April 2008, concerns were raised about the possible human rights implications of a shipment of arms from China to Zimbabwe. See:
- Zimbabwe's neighbors unite to block arms shipment - AP, 23 Apr 2008
- Bid to halt Zimbabwe arms shipment - Al Jazeera, 22 Apr 2008
- Zimbabwe arms shipped by China spark an uproar - Celia Dugger, Intl. Herald Tribune, 19 Apr 2008
The following articles highlight companies' involvement in the arms shipment:
"A Chinese ship that sparked international condemnation for attempting to transport weapons to Zimbabwe is being brought back to China, the government said Thursday. "To my knowledge, the Chinese company has decided to bring back the boat," Jiang Yu, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, told reporters. The news comes after the United States asked that China withdraw the weapons shipment destined for Zimbabwe and halt further arms shipments to the increasingly isolated African regime... The ship, identified as the An Yue Jiang and belonging to COSCO [Chinese Ocean Shipping Company]...was forced to abandon plans to off-load the arms in the South African port of Durban last week."
- Chinese arms shipment to Zimbabwe turning back: Beijing - AFP, 24 Apr 2008
"Dockworker unions have decided not to call off their plans to prevent a Chinese ship off-loading its Zimbabwe-bound weapons cargo. This is despite an announcement by the Chinese government that the ship had been recalled. The International Transport Workers Federation...says it has not received any assurances from the An Yue Jiang's owners that the ship had been recalled. The ITWF has been negotiating with the Chinese Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) to call off the arms delivery mission, in exchange for the ship's safe return to China."
- Zim arms ship 'expected to have arrived' - Hans Pienaar, Independent Online [So. Africa], 25 Apr 2008
"As protests intensified across southern Africa against the shipment of Chinese-made arms intended for Zimbabwe, the government in Beijing said Tuesday that the ship carrying the arms...may return to China... South Africa’s High Court on Friday barred transport of the ammunition, rockets and mortar bombs across South Africa...to landlocked Zimbabwe, after an Anglican archbishop argued that the arms were likely to be used to crush the Zimbabwean opposition... South Africa’s dock workers also said they would refuse to unload the shipment... According to documents provided to South African authorities and leaked to journalists here, Poly Technologies, Inc., a Chinese state-owned arms company, made the arms, weighing 77 tons and worth $1.245 million... Shipping arms to Zimbabwe could further complicate China’s efforts to avoid harsh international criticism before it hosts the Olympics this summer."
- China May Give Up Attempt to Send Arms to Zimbabwe - Celia Dugger & David Barboza, New York Times, 23 Apr 2008
"The ship carrying weapons from China for Zimbabwe is heading to Angola, and could secretly transfer its cargo to another ship. On Monday, London-based maritime research company Lloyd's MIU said there were 32 ports in Africa capable of taking the An Yue Jiang... It said there were 311 vessels in the area capable of taking the cargo, two of which were owned by the An Yue Jiang's owners, the China Ocean Shipping Company... The An Yue Jiang is reportedly carrying AK-47 ammunition as well as rocket-propelled grenades and mortars worth nearly R10-million for the Zimbabwe government, which was sent by the Chinese arms manufacturer Poly Technologies."
- Zim weapons ship can secretly offload - Louise Flanagan, Independent Online [So. Africa], 22 Apr 2008
"Observers fear that President Robert Mugabe's regime could use...weapons [aboard the An Yue Jiang] against ordinary Zimbabweans if the country descends into chaos. The main trade union at Durban port, Satawu, said its members would not unload the weapons if the ship docks... But a subsidiary of Armscor, the state weapons company, is helping to clear the shipment. A company spokesman said: "We are only there to clear the things and make sure Customs formalities have been complied with. From then on it's the owner of the shipment's responsibility." "
- South Africans help ship arms to Zimbabwe - Sebastien Berger, Telegraph [UK], 21 Apr 2008
The issue may also bolster efforts to regulate the international trade of small arms. See:
Zimbabwe crisis shines new light on arms trade - African blockade of Chinese shipment boosts hopes for new global weapons treaty - Olivia Ward, Toronto Star, 24 Apr 2008