China's fast growing capital expansion within South East Asia is raising concerns about landgrabs and exploitative practices, especially as it is often aligned with support for authoritarian regimes such as Burma.
There are many important factors to consider when speaking broadly of China's role in Africa, and one should avoid falling into the trap of simplistic comparisons with historic African-European relations.
The “corruption-causes-poverty” narrative has become a standard tool in the hegemonic discourse kit for leaders in some developing countries - where in fact, Waldon Bello argues, it is neoliberal economic policies that are really to blame for poverty. Thailand’s “Red Shirts” are not, however, being distracted by the “corruption” line the World Bank and IMF are pushing, choosing instead to keep their eyes on the prize - the real answer to poverty - replacing neoliberalism with pro-people economic policies.
The world is looking at China to save it from depression, but China has built its export based economy on the backs of its rural population, which is too poor to absorb the industry's output now that global demand has slumped.