While my friends in the Emerging Phoenix have discussions to define postcolonialism, to date, I’ve not really known how to contribute to those types of conversations. As an Asian American, my perspective has traditionally been sensitive to the imposition of power by the dominant culture, but this article has made me see that there are dynamics in play which are very much pertinent to me as someone with vested interest in the actions of the Asian nations. While it smacks of the same arguments against Wal-Mart here in the U.S., there is the double-edged sword of generosity and greed, empowerment and oppression.
A few excerpts that struck me:
“China is not like the World Bank, they don’t attach all these conditions on the money,” said Edmundo Vaz, a former adviser to the Guinea-Bissau Finance Ministry who now runs a bank.
“The West makes us wait, but we’re a poor country — we don’t have time wait,” he said…
When asked about China’s investment in nations with records of human rights abuses — notably Sudan and the Central African Republic — Li replied curtly: “Do you know what the meaning of human rights is? The basic meaning of human rights is survival — and development.”…
China has found a seemingly limitless market in Africa for its cheap goods. And oil-rich countries like Nigeria and Angola provide the natural resources China needs to sustain its rapid growth.
The imbalance between a superpower like China and a struggling West African country like Guinea-Bissau has prompted some to describe the Chinese overtures as the latest chapter in Africa’s history of exploitation.
What happens when Asians begin to exploit other countries and become the new imperialists?
How does that sit with us, as Asians who come with long histories of oppression and subjugation, yet now tempted with opulence; as Americans who consume ravenously and only seem to grow in our own navel-gazing; and most importantly as Christians who have remained safety-centric, economically unconscious, and for the most part nostalgic about our influence in the culture.
As an Asian American Christian, how do you feel today if it’s true that Asians are the new imperialists? What would you do differently?