Take action to end crisis in Darfur
A military link has been found between the Chinese and Sudanese government. For those of you who have been hiding under a box, the situation in Sudan is one of horror and disgust. In the western province of Darfur, the Sudanese government has committed atrocious acts of genocide, rape, murder and torture. The United Nations estimates approximately 300,000 people have died as a result of the conflict. In response, the U.N. has placed an arms embargo on the country, preventing foreign nations from selling the war propagating government.
This, however, has not stopped the Chinese government from selling weapons and war machines to Sudan.
According to the British Broadcasting Corp., "The Panorama TV program tracked down Chinese army lorries in the Sudanese province that came from a batch exported from China to Sudan in 2005…. Panorama traced the first lorry by traveling deep into the remote deserts of West Darfur. They found a Chinese Dong Feng army lorry in the hands of one of Darfur’s rebel groups. The BBC established through independent eyewitness testimony that the rebels had captured it from Sudanese government forces in December. The rebels filmed a second lorry with the BBC’s camera. Both vehicles had been carrying anti-aircraft guns, one a Chinese gun. Markings showed that they were from a batch of 212 Dong Feng army lorries that the UN had traced as having arrived in Sudan after the arms embargo was put in place."
Of course the Chinese government would not acknowledge the report and said, "China has chosen not to respond to the BBC’s findings. Its public position is that it abides by all U.N. arms embargoes" – as any other country would say when it has its proverbial hand caught in the cookie jar. It is not hard to imagine China doing so as it has been a constant impediment on U.N. action to alleviate the crisis in Darfur. It has vetoed U.N. sanctions against Darfur and prior to these findings was already thought to be supporting the Sudanese government.
Lack of action has allowed this tragedy to continue since 2003. Five years of violence and death have not been enough to force the world to take a decisive stand. Some countries desire to help, but allow the actions of nations such as China to prevent them from intervening. Intervention does not necessarily mean military action, but by forcing isolation and financial withdrawal from the country.
This is where our own responsibility comes into play. How can we, as ordinary citizens, help the people of Darfur without buying a plane ticket to Sudan? Well, for starters anyone interested in helping could go to Web sites such as Helpdarfurnow.org or Savedarfur.org to make a financial donation. Opponents of genocide can call their congressional representative and senators. For more information on Congressional action and votes, students can visit www.darfurscores.org. Students can also join with the Coalition for Responsible investment at the University of Houston. The CRI has been working to end UH investment in companies, such as the Sinopec Corporation, that fund genocide.
CRI’s statement in response to news revelations about the Chinese government was, "Unfortunately, this disturbing revelation further entangles the University of Houston. The Sinopec Corporation, the nationalized Chinese oil services provider in which the University holds stock, engages in lucrative business dealings with the genocidal Sudanese government. In light of this report, we bear an even greater responsibility in the crisis, as Sinopec is one of the largest representatives of the Chinese government in Sudan, the very same government the BBC accuses – with evidence – of providing military equipment to militias. Obviously, this conflicts with our reputation and values, so we therefore urge the University to consider all options of engagement, including divestment."
It is important that we all do our parts to help end the genocide in Darfur. The revelations about the Chinese involvement are both upsetting and disgusting, and as such we should do our parts to help end the crisis, not only as individuals, but also as a University.
Busby, an english sophomore, can be reached via [email protected].