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  • » 03/14/2008, 00.00


    90% of the weapons for Darfur come from China

    Beijing, in violation of the UN veto, sells weapons and receives oil in exchange. Human Rights First insists that, to stop the genocide, these sales must be stopped above all.

    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - 90% of the light weapons bought by Sudan - and used also in the war in Darfur - are sold by China, in violation of the UN embargo. This is the claim of a report from the NGO Human Rights First (HRF), providing exact figures and sources.

    According to HRF, in the period from 2004-2006, weapons suppliers greatly decreased their sales, while Beijing has sold 55 million dollars worth of weapons since the violence began escalating in Darfur, and it is now practically the only weapons supplier for Sudan, which pays in oil.

    In recent years, Beijing initially denied selling any weapons to the African country.  When it could no longer do this, it insisted that it sold less than other countries and that, in any case, its weapons are not used for the genocide in Darfur.  But, says Betsy Apple of HRF, "the rhetoric simply doesn’t match the reality", since China is practically the only supplier of weapons to Khartoum.

    China's activities in Sudan serve above all to develop the necessary infrastructure for the extraction and transportation of petroleum: wells, pipelines, refineries, but also streets and port structures. In 2000, before the crisis in Darfur, Sudan produced 1.2 billion dollars worth of oil, and 4.7 billion dollars (+291%) in 2006. A former Sudanese finance minister says that at least 70% percent of the profits go to the army, seen as one of the main culprits of the massacre. By selling more oil, the country can buy more weapons: from 1999 to 2005, weapons purchases increased 680-fold.

    China also makes military experts available to Sudan, and HRF notes that their visits to the country coincide with "periods of greater violence in Darfur". Beijing also helps to develop the production of weapons and military vehicles, through specialised companies and the sending of engineers and specialists.

    HRF concludes that "If China is serious about helping bring peace to Darfur, it must first cut off arms supplies to Sudan". Beijing says that it is doing everything that it can for peace in Darfur, but HRF maintains that this is "fallacious so long as it is the chief supplier of small arms to the government of Sudan”.

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    See also

    24/04/2008 CHINA - ZIMBABWE
    EU: China must stop selling weapons to countries under UN embargo
    The accusation comes from the European parliament, which criticises European governments for being too "timid" with China. Meanwhile, a ship loaded with arms for Zimbabwe is thought to have rounded the Cape of Good Hope. It is feared that the weapons will be delivered to president Mugabe, while systematic violence is taking place in the country.

    14/07/2008 CHINA - SUDAN
    Satellite photos, eyewitnesses reveal Beijing selling weapons to Sudan, despite embargo
    An investigation by the BBC provides, for the first time, proof of Chinese jets and heavy weaponry used against civilians, sold in spite of the embargo. Beijing is not responding, while the UN is asking to examine the evidence.

    09/05/2007 CHINA – RUSSIA
    Russia, China reject Amnesty claims of arms sales to Sudan
    The Foreign Affairs Ministries of Moscow and Beijing have rejected accusations levelled by the international organisation, underlining their respect for the decisions of the UN. China has confirmed that it will send military engineers to Darfur in a bid to halt the genocide.

    08/05/2007 CHINA-RUSSIA
    Amnesty charges: China and Russia behind Darfur massacre
    According to a report by the international organization, Moscow and Beijing are eluding a 2005 ban on the sale of arms to Sudan and are supplying warplanes to the Janjaweed militias to bombard areas populated by civilians.

    17/05/2010 CHINA
    China and US to discuss human rights as Beijing cracks down on jailed dissidents
    Wives and close relatives of imprisoned dissidents are denied visitation rights. Activists are afraid that Washington might give in to Beijing on rights to make gains on political issues. Yet, Washington is planning to fund a group tied to Falun Gong, a movement that is persecuted in China.

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