Chinese ship carries arms cargo to Mugabe regime by David Beresford in Johannesburg The Guardian 18 April 2008 A Chinese cargo ship believed to be carrying 77 tonnes of small arms, including more than 3m rounds of ammunition, AK47 assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, has docked in the South African port of Durban for transportation of the weapons to Zimbabwe, the South African government confirmed yesterday. It claimed it was powerless to intervene as long as the ship's papers were in order. Copies of the documentation for the Chinese ship, the An Yue Jiang, show that the weapons were sent from Beijing to the ministry of defence in Harare. Headed "Dangerous goods description and container packing certificate", the document was issued on April 1, three days after Zimbabwe's election. It lists the consignment as including 3.5m rounds of ammunition for AK47 assault rifles and for small arms, 1,500 40mm rockets, 2,500 mortar shells of 60mm and 81mm calibre, as well as 93 cases of mortar tubes. The carrier is listed as the Cosco shipping company in China. Continue
Monday, 21 April 2008
A recent headline in The Guardian (18 April) reads: ‘Chinese ship carries arms cargo to Mugabe regime’. Here we have a ship full of arms for Robert Mugabe so he can repress the democratic revolt in Zimbabwe, supplied by the same Chinese regime which the Labour government in New Zealand has embraced in a free trade deal, held up by a dockers’ strike in South Africa which, if done in New Zealand, would be illegal under the Employment Relations Act passed by Helen Clark's administration in 2000. Makes you think doesn’t it? This series of events on the on other side of the world highlights just how far Labour is from a progressive politics grounded in basic human rights. It’s all about the almighty dollar, and to hang with basic principles like democracy and workers’ right to strike. To secure a free trade agreement with China that will boost the profits of Fonterra and other NZ companies, Labour is willing to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses in China. And what chance that Helen Clark is going to loudly condemn gun-running by China to help a despotic Zimbabwe regime crush a broad based democratic movement? Not likely. This is the tangled world of pro-corporate profit driven politics without principle that the Labour Party has embraced. The party is no longer a progressive force in New Zealand.