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Ethiopia Became China’s New Tibet

 

 

China of Mao conquered militarily  Tibet  in 1959, today Ethiopia became the new colony without firing a a shot. With the Chinese speaking symbolic president of Ethiopia  at the top. Ethiopians are slaved  regimented almost for free paid under dollar  a day. Please read the following article entitled “Turning Ethiopia Into China’s China.”


Turning Ethiopia Into China's China

Illustration by 731
Ethiopian workers walking through the parking lot of Huajian Shoes’ factory outside Addis Ababa in June chose the wrong day to leave their shirts untucked. The company’s president, just arrived from China, spotted them through the window, sprang up, and ran outside. Zhang Huarong, a former People’s Liberation Army soldier, harangued them in Chinese, tugging at one man’s polo shirt and forcing another worker’s into his pants. Amazed, the workers stood silent until the eruption subsided.
Zhang’s factory is part of the next wave of China’s investment in Africa. It started with infrastructure, especially the kind that helped the Chinese extract African oil, copper, and other raw materials to fuel China’s industrial complex. Now China is getting too expensive to do the low-tech work it’s known for. African nations such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania want their share of the 80 million manufacturing jobs that China is expected to export, according to Justin Lin Yifu, a former World Bank chief economist who teaches economics at Peking University. Weaker consumer spending in the U.S. and Europe has prompted global retailers to speed up their search for lower-cost producers.
Shaping up employees is one part of Zhang’s quest to squeeze more profit out of Huajian’s factory, where wages of about $40 a month are less than 10 percent of what comparable Chinese workers may make. Just as companies discovered with China when they began manufacturing there in the 1980s, Ethiopia’s workforce is untrained, its power supply is intermittent, and its roads are so bad that trips can take six times as long as they should. “Ethiopia is exactly like China 30 years ago,” says Zhang, 55, who quit the military in 1982 to make shoes from his home in Jiangxi province with three sewing machines. He now supplies such well-known brands as Nine West and Guess (GES).
Almost three years after Zhang began his Ethiopian adventure at the invitation of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, he says he’s unhappy with profits at the plant, frustrated by “widespread inefficiency” in the local bureaucracy, and struggling to raise productivity from a level that he says is about a third of China’s. Transportation and logistics that cost as much as four times what they do in China are prompting Huajian to set up its own trucking company, according to Zhang. That will free Huajian from using the inefficient local haulers, but it can’t fix the roads. It takes two hours to drive 30 kilometers (18 miles) to the Huajian factory from the capital along the main artery. Oil tankers and trucks stream along the bumpy, potholed, and at times unpaved road. Goats, donkeys, and cows wander along, occasionally straying into bumper-to-bumper traffic. Minibuses and dented taxis, mostly blue Ladas from Ethiopia’s past as a Soviet ally, weave through oncoming traffic, coughing exhaust.
Photograph by William Davidson/Bloomberg
In a country where 80 percent of the labor force is in agriculture, manufacturers don’t have to worry about finding new workers. The population of about 96 million is Africa’s second-largest after Nigeria’s. Cheap labor and electricity and a government striving to draw foreign investment make Ethiopia more attractive than many other African nations, says Deborah Brautigam, author of The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa and a professor of international development and comparative politics at Johns Hopkins University. “They are trying to establish conditions for a transformation,” Brautigam says. “It could become the China of Africa.” Foreign direct investment in Ethiopia jumped 3.4 times to $953 million last year from the year before, according to estimates by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Huajian’s 3,500 Ethiopian workers produced 2 million pairs of shoes last year. Located in one of the country’s first industrial zones—which offer better infrastructure and tax exemptions—the factory began operating in January 2012. It became profitable its first year and now makes $100,000 to $200,000 a month, Zhang says—an insufficient return that he claims will rise as workers become better trained. Beneath bright fluorescent lights and amid the drone of machines, workers cut, glue, stitch, and sew Marc Fisher leather boots destined for the U.S. market. Supervisors monitor quotas on whiteboards, giving small cash rewards to winning teams and criticizing those who fall short.Zhang spends about half his time in Ethiopia, he says. During his June visit to the Huajian plant he spoke to about 200 uniformed supervisors, a mixture of Ethiopians and Chinese, assembled in the parking lot. He berated supervisors for their inefficiency, then praised them for their loyalty, his words translated into Amharic, Ethiopia’s national language, and Oromo, the local language. He ordered staff to march on the spot as they all chanted together in Chinese. Then they recited slogans: “Unite as one.” “Improvement together.” “Civilized and efficient.” They sang the Song of Huajian, which urged “we Huajian people” to move forward, hold the banner of Huajian high, and “keep our business forever.” Chinese supervisors led the song, while their Ethiopian colleagues stumbled over some words.
Later, Zhang explained why he can’t be as tough as he’d like. “Here the management cannot be too strong as there will be a problem with the culture,” he said through a translator. “On one hand we have to have strict requirements, on the other hand we have to take care of them. They may be poor, but we have to respect their dignity.”
Five workers interviewed at the factory describe strict standards, with rewards for good work and pay docked for ruined shoes. Taddelech Teshome, 24, says her day starts at 7:20 a.m. after her Chinese employers provide workers with a breakfast of bread and tea. When her morning shift ferrying shoes from the factory floor to the warehouse is over, she gets fed the national staple sour bread for lunch, then resumes work until 5:15. After that a Huajian bus takes her to nearby Debre Zeit, where she rents a room with her sister for $18 a month. Taddelech came to work at Huajian just over a year ago from her home 165 kilometers away in the Arsi region after her sister started work at the factory. “The work is good because I pay my rent and I can look after myself,” she says. “It’s transformed my life.”
Huajian’s Zhang wants to increase its workforce in Ethiopia to as many as 50,000 within eight years. A model of a planned new plant at the edge of Addis Ababa is displayed at the factory. It shows a 341-acre complex, partly financed by more than $300 million from Huajian, that will include apartments for workers, a wooded area, and a technical university.
In the parking lot, after supervisors had sung the company song, Zhang dismissed the Ethiopians but continued to rail against the Chinese managers. To make his points he thrust a broomstick toward them repeatedly. He finally left the stage, laughing and raising his fist in triumph.

China colonizing Africa through its dictators in Ethiopia

It is a dramatic increase in China’s investment in Ethiopia as spring board for African recolonization . By some estimates, it’s more than doubled in the past five years to more than two billion dollars and bribing the leaders to control one of the ancient independent country. This fuel the country’s recent dramatic foreign pumped growth in the cities making the rich rich and the poor to live in the feudal period creating wide parity.



ERITREA’s FAILED DREAM

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After the Eritrean independence war ended in 1991, Eritreans threw themselves into reconstructing the country’s shattered infrastructure, with whole villages helping out to build small dams, terrace-eroded hillsides, and plant thousands of trees. Photos by Dan Connell.

Once a revolution is over, how do you judge its success? A victory for Mao’s vision of the People’s Republic of China was not exactly a victory for the people of China. A glorious, clean revolution isn’t easy. Look at Russia, France, Cambodia, Iran. Look at Egypt today. In the coming decades, we will see the result of revolutions played out across the Arab world and, quite possibly, across Europe as well. Will they be deemed successes by anyone other than the victors?

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A crucial, but little reported, example of a hard fought revolution and its troubling aftermath can be found in the Horn of Africa.

Twenty years ago, Eritrea—in the northeast of Africa—became a legally independent nation, having won its de-facto independence from Ethiopia two years earlier, in 1991. This independence was the end result of a 30-year war with Ethiopia. The revolutionaries who won the war were heroes, champions of freedom standing up against an oppressive, murderous Ethiopian regime backed by the Soviet Union and tacitly supported by the West. They had reestablished an independent Eritrean nation and the future looked bright. But revolutionary opposition and day-to-day power are two totally different things. Once you’ve gotten used to glorious victories, the thrills of red tape and responsibility may well be lost on you. As such, creating a free and democratic society is a total pain in the ass.

Eritrea had been an Italian colony since 1890, Ethiopia since 1935. After the Second World War, Eritrea became part of Ethiopia but maintained a measure of independence. In 1962, and in contravention of a UN resolution, Ethiopia annexed Eritrea. The UN and other world powers looked on, unwilling to jeopardize their relationship with the strategically-vital Ethiopia. As John Foster Dulles, who would go on to be the United States’ secretary of state, said in 1950, “From the standpoint of justice, the opinions of the Eritrean people must receive consideration. Nevertheless, the strategic interest of the United States in the Red Sea basin and considerations of security and world peace make it necessary that the country has to be linked with our ally, Ethiopia.” Eritrea had been screwed.


An EPLF member outside Asmara, 1979.

When Eritrea gained its independence in the early 1990s, it was the Marxist revolutionary group The Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) that took power in Asmara, the nation’s capital, having fought a long and hard guerrilla war against Ethiopia. With their ruthless discipline, encouragement of abstinence and collective focus, the EPLF were—in the words of one leading Eritrean historian—“the most successful liberation movement in Africa.” They were tough, and while their intolerance of dissent galvanized their fighting potential, it merely made them tyrants once they were in power.

Led by Isaias Afewerki, they continued their flair for strong, Marxist-sounding names by becoming the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ). And, with Isaias front and center, the PFDJ has remained in power ever since independence.

Today, criticism of the government is not tolerated. Only four religions are officially recognized. Worship in any other church and you’ll be persecuted. There is no civil society to speak of and, every month, kids cross the border to escape national service, which has no fixed end and is essentially a form of government-sponsored slavery. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates the number of fleeing Eritreans at 1,000 a month (it’s worth noting that escaping means going through the Sahara into mine-strewn Ethiopia while avoiding being shot by border guards). Reporters Without Borders ranks Eritrea 178th out of 178 in the world for press freedom, which basically means anything approaching journalism is banned.


A UN-supplied refugee camp near the border of Ethiopia, accommodating some of the thousands of Eritreans who flee across the border every year.

By 2012, hundreds of thousands of young Eritreans had fled the country to escape the deepening political repression and to avoid what had become open-ended national service in both the armed forces and state and party-controlled businesses. Three hundred refugees were showing up in Ethiopia each month and being placed in UN-supplied camps near the border.

In May, to coincide with Eritrea’s 20th anniversary celebrations, Amnesty International released a damning report entitled Eritrea: 20 Years of Independence, but Still No Freedom. The report claims that there are, at minimum, 10,000 prisoners being held illegally without trial in Eritrea. The human rights organization’s Eritrea researcher, Claire Beston, told me that this figure did not include those people jailed for “avoiding national service or trying to flee the country.” The report is littered with the testimony of people who have been affected by the actions of the government:

“I last saw my father at the beginning of 2007, they took him away from our house. I know nothing about what happened afterward.”

“This generation, everyone has gone through the prison at least once. Everyone I met in prison has been in prison two or three times.”

“Everybody has to confess what he’s done. They hit me so many times… Many people were getting disabled at that military camp. During the night they would take them to a remote area, tie them up, and beat them on their back.”

There are many more like this. It’s not exactly light summer reading.


The 1984 to ’85 African famine put Eritrea’s war for independence on hold as the liberation front trucked aid into the country to prevent both mass starvation and a wholesale exodus from the contested areas. Ethiopia sought to isolate the Eritreans using food as a weapon.

Tesfamichael Gerahtu, Eritrea’s ambassador to the UK and Ireland, told me that while Eritrea have “some challenges in human rights,” there “are no people incarcerated on the basis of their political beliefs.” The Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs released an angrily-worded response that rejected Amnesty’s “wild accusations.” The release concluded that Amnesty would ignore the 20th anniversary celebrations, “smug in its selfrighteous belief that it can, with impunity, attack and denigrate a young nation, which despite many odds, manages to progress and improve the lives of its citizens.”

Amnesty’s Claire Beston told me that Eritrea’s refusal to acknowledge its illegal detention of its own people was “incredibly disappointing for the families of those affected.” Additionally, she pointed out that Eritrea’s imprisonment of innocent people was in direct contravention with a number of international treaties it had signed up to. Drawing parallels with another country known for imprisoning innocent citizens, the human rights activist Khataza Gondwe has referred to Eritrea as “Africa’s North Korea.”

Eritrea, then, has not become the country many hoped for. “I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t believe that promises were betrayed,” Eritrean exile Gaim Kibreab—a university professor and author of Eritrea: A Dream Deferred—told me. Kibreab left Eritrea in 1976. For him, the actions of the current government “affect us all. I have relatives in Sudanese refugee camps. I have dear friends in prison in Eritrea.” The deferred dream of a free Eritrea was not just Kibreab’s, but one shared by many of his countrymen, though possibly not Isaias Afewerki and his revolutionary army.

Kibreab wishes for a pluralist democracy in which there is a free press and a flourishing civil society. But was this ever going to be a realistic proposition for a group of hardened guerrilla warriors at the end of a 30-year struggle? Decades of uninterrupted power is probably a closer approximation of Isaias’ dreams. He’s said to be full of contempt for humanity, to be a big drinker and a mean drunk. He’s a human rights violator and a petty thug who’s known to break bottles over people’s heads once he’s had a few.

As such, being boss probably suits him just fine. His former foreign minister, Petros Solomon, a key fighter and comrade in the revolution, was imprisoned in 2001 for speaking out against the government as part of the G-15 group of dissidents, who wrote an open letter to Isaias denouncing the lack of freedom in Eritrea. Solomon has not been heard from since his imprisonment.


Petros Solomon in an underground bunker in the frontline town of Nakfa, in 1979.

Some ex-revolutionary fighters and other defenders of the Eritrean government are scornful of exiled, “so-called intellectuals” like Gaim Kibreab. They believe that the people who now talk about human rights in Eritrea are hypocrites, people who didn’t fight and stand up for the violation of Eritrean human rights in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. There is still a significant amount of support for Isaias in the Eritrean diaspora. The Eritrean ambassador told me that “you must respect that we have had our human rights violated,” in relation to Ethiopia’s annexing of—and then war with—Eritrea, as well as the international support of Ethiopia.

Kibreab, in a way, agrees with him. He told me that when you talk about Eritrea, you have to talk about Ethiopia, which—secure in its importance strategically to the United States—has continued to run roughshod over Eritrea and, in doing so, has alienated Eritrea from the rest of the world. A world that now regards it as a small rogue state with a potential for Islamism, while viewing Ethiopia as a large, roguish, but vital state—a key ally in the “War on Terror.”

“The international community,” Kibreab pointed out, “has never been charitable to the Eritrean government. But if they moved towards liberal democracy, they’d help themselves.” However, this lack of support is worth remembering, particularly since it has been true ever since John Foster Dulles admitted that Eritrea was to be the victim in an international power game. Freedom from the machinations of foreign powers was one of the driving forces of the revolution. Now, still isolated, Isaias and his government continue to battle on, proudly proclaiming survival in the face of international contempt.


In 1998, the Eritreans went back to war with Ethiopia. The country’s youth were quickly mobilized to go back into the trenches.

The interminable military service, for example, makes some sense in the context of Ethiopian aggression. In 1998, the two countries went to war over a small portion of disputed territory surrounding the barren, rock-strewn town of Badme. The war, which lasted for over two years and resulted in the death of up to 100,000 soldiers, was described as “two bald men fighting over a comb.”

Since the end of the war, Ethiopia has failed to recognize an international court ruling that stipulates that Badme is part of Eritrea. Eritrean government officials have repeatedly told me that if Ethiopia recognized the boundary, they would be ready to make friends with their neighbors. Ethiopia funds many of the strands of opposition in Eritrea and, along with the United States, plays a crucial role in a paranoid narrative put forward by the Eritrean government: that Eritrea’s very existence is under constant threat from dark powers beyond its borders.

There is an element of truth to this, but of course Isaias and his government spin it out for all its worth. As far as propaganda goes, Ethiopia is Isaias’ greatest ally.


An EPLF member outside Asmara, 1979.

What I’m also talking about here, when I talk about Eritrea at 20 years, is the difference between the idealism of revolutionary opposition and the practical day-to-day reality of running a government. After years in the mountains fighting a guerrilla war, how was a revolutionary movement going to smoothly transition into power? Just like with the Taliban in Afghanistan, we’ve seen that life in grizzled, iconic opposition is perhaps not the best preparation for a calm, moral government. In opposition, those around Isaias let him do what needed to be done. There was a sense that he was “our bastard.” But, since then, the bastard has never stopped.

Ex-revolutionaries in Eritrea are often characterized as great drinkers, good talkers, and terrible diplomats. They grew up fighting in a revolutionary struggle, and the intricacies of international diplomacy were not for them. Paranoid and wary of showing weakness, they have punished innocent people for their own failings.

This is the sadness of all revolutionary dreams turned sour: the reality of freedom is never the same as the promise of freedom. It’s unlikely that when the EPLF were fighting for their country’s independence they looked up at that East African sky and thought: We dream that some day we will imprison people without trial, that our people will do anything they can to escape the country, that our youth will be locked into national service and that there will be no such thing as journalism.

Every generation reacts against the previous one, though. Isaias is getting old, and with the post-independence generation now 20 years old, the next few years could see some upheaval, hopefully for the better, in Eritrea.

Follow Oscar on Twitter: @oscarrickettnow

See more of Dan’s work at danconnell.net.

More stories about troubled African countries:

Al Qaeda Wants Africa

The VICE Guide to Liberia

Watch – Ground Zero: Mali

 

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Apocalyptic dams in China and Ethiopia are drying lakes and causing drought

 

The direct effect the Chinese tree Gorge Dams is  drought, land sliding, and drying of  lakes. This will be the best warning for the Ethiopian Dam rug Melse Zenawie from stopping to dam the Nile  and the Omo rivers with consequences of drying Lake Tana and Turkana. Nile its source is the Lake Tana the only life giving lake  to Egypt, while Omo is the life line for Lake Turkana in Kenya.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIpmfKkbizQ&feature=player_detailpage

Poyang Lake just months ago but now is a dry ocean of green grass because of China’s worst drought in decades the main culprit is the three Gorge dams, soon the same will be for Lake Tana in Ethiopia and Turkana in Kenya due the Death Dams of the Nile and Omo rivers constructed with the help the China.

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Yangtze River Water Levels Drop par NewsLook——–

As that of  Poyang shrinks to a tenth its usual size, crops wither and millions of people go thirsty, critics point to the gargantuan Three Gorges Dam as one cause, making it a symbol of the risks of the country’s dream of Mega dams not only in China but  also in the drought stricken Horn of Africa.

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Many villagers environmental   scientists suspect the dam not only withholds water from the Yangtze River downstream, but could also be altering weather patterns, contributing to the lowest rainfall some areas have seen in a half-century or more.  The same type of  drought due to the Gibe I,II,III dams  has rekindle a tribal war in Lake Turkana region of Ethiopia and Kenya.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5wQq8JnHUY&feature=player_detailpage

 

The Chinese government  in the opposite to its Ethiopian counterpart , though in the beginning denies that Three Gorges can cause droughts but has acknowledged some of its environmental problems in a debate that highlights China’s reliance on such showcase projects to sustain its economic boom.

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The Three Gorges Dam,  like the Ethiopian coming  Nile Millennium & gibe III Dams, is the world’s biggest hydroelectric plant is  a way to control flooding along the Yangtze and generate massive power for the country’s ravenous industries.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpjmDal30L0&feature=player_detailpage

The government already has used up 80 percent of the reserves in the 410-mile-long (660-kilometer-long) reservoir by releasing extra water to relieve drought conditions downstream. When it comes  to the future Ethiopian Nile & Omo Dam planed in the image of the Three Gorges Dam will dry up the two rivers  irreversibly.

The Yangtze’s levels have fallen enough to threaten shipping both upstream and downstream as far as Shanghai, where high salt tides threaten drinking water supplies for its 23 million residents. Once the Ethiopian Millennium Dam is over the Sudanese  and Egyptian must prepare to use another means of transport since the Nile will cease to Exist if any Egypt is left without the Nile.

 

The dam rather than producing great energy as dreamed by the Chinese engineers the  waning hydroelectric capacity are expected to deepen in the hottest days of summer. If it continues at the present rhythm many farmers have to  abandon their dried ponds and fields, prices for food are surging, defying Beijing’s efforts to bring down already stubbornly high inflation. Today China Luks  water to sustain its 1.3 billion people. The Three gorge dams  seems  accelerating the  end of  China’s high growth since the government has exhausted  its natural  environmental reserve to fall back .

The Chinese State Council admitted that  the $23 billion Three Gorges project has caused a slew of environmental, geologic and economic problems. Urgent action is needed to reduce risks of natural disasters such as landslides and alleviate poverty among the 1.4 million people forced to relocate, while their new won satellite state of Ethiopia led by Melse Zenawie  refused to recognize the resent drought in Turkana region is caused by the Gibe dams of Omo river.

More and more Chinese farmers and fisherman’s in the lake Poyang  and around the country that the dam  causes drought. China’s leaders like their Ethiopian counterpart are very sensitive when one criticizes their Megalomaniac Death Dams. People’s Daily like most of the Ethiopians state run Journals recently declared that – “No evidence supports the theory that the Three Gorges causes droughts.”

Dam can altering the humidity of an area  and affect local rainfall . According  to Kenneth Pomeranz,  the University of California’s  specialist on the Chinese Water’s conclusion on the  Apocalyptic three  Gorge  Dams  as a  “big Rube Goldberg contraption.”

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“All the pieces have to work or you’ve got big problems. Obviously one of those pieces is that you have to have guessed right about the water supply in the Yangtze basin. If it doesn’t have as much water as was thought, you have to give it up.

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Like 6650 km long Nile, to Sudan and Egypt, Yangtze the 6,300 km waterway provides  about a fifth of China’s economic activity and two-thirds of its inland shipping. Since Three Apocalyptic Three Gorge Dams  completion, the region around Poyang Lake has dried out. With the completion of the Ethiopian Millennium Death Dams not only Ethiopia but Egypt and Sudan will revive the Biblical Famine due to the coming unfrequented droughts.

 

According to Jacques Leslie building dams around the Equator will disequilibrate the earth’s magnetic tilt in his recent conferences. The Ethiopian Dictator must be stopped before he does un reparable damage to the planets magnetic equilibrium.
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Thumbnail4:35Water Troubles Along the Nile