Friday, January 4, 2013

South-South Cooperation Part 1

Here are two stories that made me think of 'South-South Cooperation,' I phrase and idea of which I am deeply skeptical, but that is a tale for another day.
  • Kathleen McLaughlin has been doing phenomenal work over at the Pulitzer Center looking at Chinese foreign health aid to Africa. I urge you to read every piece on the site. She looks at a very complicated set of issues with nuance and gets gets some great quotes from actors on the ground, exemplified in "Malaria: The Core of Every Ugandan Pharmacist's Business." I loved this piece for how it turned the narrative away from simply 'fake Chinese drugs' vs 'real wholesome (probably American) drugs' and instead tried to look at the issue of malaria more holistically. I mused a few days ago whether McLaughlin thinks China would respond to some of the fake drug criticism, and she herself answered me by linking to a piece she wrote which demonstrated Chinese officials are definitely thinking about the problem. As she says "Perhaps acknowledgement of the problem by official China, even in the form of defensiveness and denials, could lead to some changes. At the very least, we know they're talking about it." Agreed. One of the things I admire about China's interaction with African peoples is that they acknowledge (though not admit, necessarily) when things could be better. 
The scandal involves US-listed technology company Agilent Technologies, which had been accused of bribing Zhang with sex service provided by male sex workers in a high-end Beijing club, said media reports. Some of the escorts were reported to be African.
    In my experience, it is rather rare for a Chinese woman to enter into romantic relationships with black Africans. Out of the subset of Chinese women even willing to date a foreigner, which itself is rather small (no matter what some Fenqinq might say), there is but a tiny fraction of women who would even consider being with a black man, let alone a black African without the perks of an American or British passport. Obviously I am only speaking from anecdotal evidence, so feel free to correct me if I am wrong. So when I read that this woman was being tempted with sexual services from Africans, I felt that this was probably the most progressive instance of South-South Cooperation I was going to read for a while. That, or it was racialized slut-shaming.

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