Meanwhile, China Quietly Takes Over Zimbabwe

Tyler Durden's picture

While the developed world is focusing on the rapidly deteriorating developments in the Crimean, China, which has kept a very low profile on the Ukraine situation aside from the token diplomatic statement, is taking advantage of this latest distraction to do what it does best: quietly take over the global periphery while nobody is looking. 

Over two years ago we reported that none other than Zimbabwe - best known in recent history for banknotes with many zeros in them - was bashing the US currency, and had alligned itself with the Chinese Yuan. This culminated last month with the announcement by Zimbabwe’s central bank that it would accept the Chinese yuan and three other Asian currencies as legal tender as economic relations have improved in recent years. "Trade and investment ties between Zimbabwe, China, India, Japan and Australia have grown appreciably," said Charity Dhliwayo, acting governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Business Live reported then:

Exporters and the public can now open accounts in yuans, Australian dollars, Indian rupees and Japanese yen, Dhliwayo said. Zimbabwe abandoned its worthless currency in 2009.


It accepts the US dollar and the South African rand as the main legal tender. Their use has helped to stabilise the economy after world-record inflation threw it into a tailspin.


Independent economist Chris Mugaga said the introduction of the Asian currencies would not make a huge difference to Zimbabwe’s struggling economy.


"It is Zimbabwe’s Look East Policy, which has forced this, and nothing else," he said.

And now, as a result of the "Look East Policy", we learn that China has just achieved what every ascendent superpower in preparation for "gunboat diplomacy" mode needs: a key strategic airforce base. From the Zimbabwean.

China is planning to set up a modern high-tech military base in the diamond-rich Marange fields, says a German-based website, Telescope News.


The news of the agreement to set up the first Chinese military airbase in Africa comes amid increasing bilateral cooperation between Zimbabwe and China – notably in mining, agriculture and preferential trade. China is the only country exempted from the indigenisation laws which force all foreign investors to cede 51% of their shareholding to carefully selected indigenous Zimbabweans.


The airstrip at Marange has sophisticated radar
systems and ultra-modern facilities


The Marange story quoted unnamed military officials and a diplomat admitting knowledge of the plan to set up the base. Efforts to get a comment from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces were fruitless, as spokesperson Lt Col Alphios Makotore was consistently unavailable and did not respond to emails by the time of going to press.


The website speculated that China could be positioning itself for future “gunboat diplomacy” where its military presence would give it bargaining power against superpowers like the US. It would also be safeguarding its significant economic interests in Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa.


Veil of secrecy


“Military officials in Zimbabwe said details of the airbase plan were sketchy and mostly classified due to the veil of secrecy around President Robert Mugabe’s relationship with China’s Red Army. A sizeable number of Chinese troops are reported to have their boots on the ground in the Marange diamond fields, which have since been cordoned off as a high level security zone,” said the publication.


It added that a senior Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) officer based in Harare confirmed that there were rumours of the impending establishment of the airstrip as a “follow up to a military treaty signed between China and Zimbabwe in July 2005”.


Telescope News has made sensational claims in recent weeks, among them that Defence Minister and Zanu (PF) Secretary for Legal Affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was secretly anointed by the military to succeed President Robert Mugabe.


Key battleground


It quoted a former Asian diplomat deployed to Zimbabwe for almost a decade as saying: “Haven’t you heard that Africa is the battlefield of tomorrow, today? As such in terms of geo-politics Zimbabwe is already a key battleground, for various competing powers. During my stay there, we heard about many military agreements being signed between the two countries.”


Chinese companies are heavily involved in diamond mining, in partnership with the Zimbabwe Government. They are believed to have constructed the airstrip at Marange that many suspect is being used to clandestinely haul diamonds to unknown destinations. It has sophisticated radar systems and ultra-modern facilities.

At this point expect to see a prompt, and unexpected, escalation in hostilities in southern Africa, most likely due to latent ethnic conflict of some kind (and brought back to the surface with the help of a few CIA dollars), which in turn will be the justification for US drones to begin operations in proximity to Zimbabwe to keep up with China's encroaching take over of Africa, now from the south.


Perhaps most interesting is the finding that Zimbabwe's president-cum-dictator, Robert Mugabe, so widely despised by the west, is in fact on China's payroll:

Confidential Central Intelligence Organisation documents leaked last year suggested that China had played a central role in retaining President Robert Mugabe in the July 31 elections, indicating that high level military officers had worked closely with the local army in poll strategies while Beijing bankrolled Zanu (PF).


China is Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner after South Africa and has strategic economic interests in many African countries to guarantee raw materials, job sources and markets for its huge population.


The new Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Lin Lin, recently said trade between the two countries last year exceeded the $1 billion mark. Yet Zimbabwe is only 26th on the list of China’s 58 biggest African trading partners.


The Asian country has supplied Zimbabwe with military hardware, including MIG jet fighters, tanks, armoured vehicles and rifles, since Independence.

In other words, while nobody was looking, China just took over one more nation without spilling a drop of blood. And now back to the regularly scheduled Crimean War part X.

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glaucon was right's picture

Sneaky sneaky...Well, it is easier to take over a country noone wants.

svayambhu108's picture

 "A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step" - was a Chinese saying.

johnQpublic's picture

diplomacy vs. policy


and the winner is...

HyBrasilian's picture

More BEER SUMMITS... #FOARWARD!... Yes we CAN!... After Obama holes out for his snowman on 18, he's heading straight to the 'situation room' to council on whether gay rights are being honored in ZIMBUTTFUCK... He'll read a 2 line statement off the teleprompter, then suit up for an Oscars bash... [where Ellen DeGeneres will tell the world]:


Because ~ OBAMA!

AlaricBalth's picture

"All warfare is based on deception...appear where you are not expected."
Sun Tzu

SWRichmond's picture

Infantry lore: When they give you something to look at, you are walking into a trap.  Stop looking at what they want you to look at and look around.

Wolferl's picture

Old Chinese sayin: Never waste a good crisis. (You know the Chinese sign for crisis and chance are the same)

Unpopular Truth's picture

Yeah... All the while we sit and fight over the two faces of the same coin: democrats vs republicans (presented purposefully in alphabetic order, so that nobody thinks I am aligned with either one

Manthong's picture

It would be Greek to me if it wasn't Chinese (which makes Greek look like grade school English).

Ar-Pharazôn's picture

@ Wolferl


The Chinese word for "crisis" (simplified Chinese: ??; traditional Chinese: ??; pinyin: w?ij?; Wade–Giles: wei-chi) is frequently invoked in Western motivational speaking because the word is composed of two sino-characters that can represent "danger" and "opportunity". However this analysis is fallacious because the character j? has other meanings besides "opportunity."

kliguy38's picture

Battle of resources.........china wins.......who do ya want to be your daddy.......looks like china 

toady's picture

Resources, sure, but I'm interested in the Chinese MIC.

Planted between the US MIC in Saudi Arabia, South Africa, & Egypt, with alCIAda in Yemen & Mali, and God knows what unholy heathens are out in the jungle....

I'll add this to the big board & keep an eye on it. First/best bet is Nigerian militias will suddenly become alCIAda terrorists

JamesBond's picture

China's move to africa is about land, land, and more land to put soldiers, soldiers, and more soldiers.  The resources are honey in the 'pot'




CPL's picture

The interesting thing about China moving in isn't the 'take over', it's the fact they are bringing crazy things like engineering services, farming practices, resource development and schools.

I'm not seeing an issue here in sharing education and processes that make things run smoothly.  Versus the typical half assed NATO methods that bring more bullets, central banks and bullshit NGO's that are profit driven versus solutions driven.  It's been nothing but one collasal fuck up after another where NATO and it's interests have been in concern with Africa.  50 years of drought, poor resource management isn't an accident.  After 50 years of it there are only two things it can be;

  • Complete and total incompetance
  • Conspiracy

It can only be one or the other at this point.  Since any rational person should doubt that dumb people work for all the UN/NATO store fronts.  Let's just take the only reasonable option of Conspiracy to sit on an entire continent and crush it economically with the same mechanisms choking the western world to death right now.  It is reasonable to point out that while there are smart people working forthese organisations, they aren't necessarily that creative in their approach because it's been repeated so often it borders on poorly written satire.

The current and previous policy developments the western world aren't worth a shit in a hat, again using 50 years of bone headed moves concerning Africa underlining greed and stupidity is the offered proof.  Oh, plus all those food for guns programs the NGO's run haven't helped an inch either.  it's completely outrageous how crooked it all is.

If China is in there to illustrate and show Zimbabwe how they can dig themselves out of the shithole the western world dug for them.  More power to them in helping out where they can.

-.-'s picture

You are a fucktard and a hopeless romantic (in contrast to a true romantic view of the world)...


Don't be surprised.



[Remember Libertalia dear Africa]

garypaul's picture

That's true. CPL's comment was straight out of the 1960's academia.

USA USA's picture

If you wern't running around saying, "You are a fucktard", you

would read your link and see that was NINE years ago!

CPL's picture

Zambia is not Zimbabwe is it? 

Doesn't have a deployment point of Angola sitting right next door to it that's been used since the 50's for Africa-Corps.  The old cold war joke about the heart in Moscow, the spirit in Cuba and the body in Angola comes to mind.  This isn't rocket science, it's historical tactical movements in the region.  So no the entire thing is poorly written satire for parroting sock puppet teleprompter jockeys.

BTW Zimbabwe, if you bothered checking a map, is south of Zambia.  The country has become the butt of jokes on it's inability to manage a fiat paper trade.  Just like is happening right now in all of the western world because that's all fiat trade does.  It makes countries poorer the faster they print it.  So it's not romantic, it's just what needs to be done to make sure it gets fixed and get a head of future problems.  It would be really lazy to do anything else in a situation that obviously needs remediation.  How to do that?

You give people the tools they need to move in the direction they need to.  When you bring the light of knowledge you bring it for everyone to use responsibly, and to do that you teach.  Or does continuing the current situation have some unknown appeal that makes it worth the effort to keep an entire continent in the dirt?  How is that a reasonable position to argue from?


Unpopular Truth's picture

You might note our practice of dumping our excess products in poor countries at prices below cost.
This way their local industries can never be profitable

Dutch's picture

My businessman relations in Mali have been telling me all about how the Chinese have been coming to the country, improving infrastructure, investing in the communities, and so on. They are so dazzled by the idea that the relationship is not overtly immediately exploitive (like their ongoing relationship with the French for forever), that they refuse to ask the questions that I ask them. That is, what's in it for the Chinese? Their answer is that the Chinese are their partners, not their colonial masters. Which doesn't really get to the nub of the question, does it? Mali has gold, and is centrally located in the continent. My take is that the Chinese are exploiting the Malians in a new way, in that they are there to plunder the natural resources, raise up the standard of living so that the locals will be pacified and buy lots of cheap Chinese manufactured goods, and for the country to serve as a strategic military jumping-off place for the Chinese. In the meantime they let the French fight off the Wahhabis and the Tuaregs in the north of the country. I am sure this is going on all over the African continent, and the West doesn't understand or doesn't care. The Malians probably do understand, but don't really want to look a gift horse in the mouth. In the meantime, the Mali gold will get shipped east, cheap tools and household appliances will get shipped west, and the Chinese will have a "friend" in the area, should they want or need one.

cynicalskeptic's picture

China is buying friends, power, influence and RESOURCES with all those $US earned making all the things consumed in the United States - things we no longer make.

So... while the US tries to force its way into places it isn't wanted at the point of a gun - at great financial cost leading to eventual bankruptcy (and following the pathof hated former Colonial overlords), China is WELCOMED into those same countries.    Sadly, the end result will be the same - the locals getting screwed out of the resources their countries have - but CHINA is the one coming out ahead.

The US Empire is collapsing - as all empires do.  China is on the ascendency.   They have their own problems but the West has made their rise SO much easier and SO much faster.

sylviasays's picture

"If China is in there to illustrate and show Zimbabwe how they can dig themselves out of the shithole the western world dug for them.  More power to them in helping out where they can."

China is just helping them out where they can? Yeah right, now  Zimbabwe will be in a shithole that the eastern world has dug for them.


Cash-NonCash's picture

However Zimbabwe is not step one for China.  Zimbabwe is wise to ally with China despite possible negative futures as a result.  Will each Zim national feel the alliance?  Will the impact be the prevention of atrocity?  Do the worsening exploitations of natural resources inherent to the chinese way factor in?  This expansion is not news indeed... it is the way of the world.

Martel's picture

Zimbabweans drove out the white farmers, many of whom had 150 years of family history there. That collapsed their food production, economy, and currency in short order. Now the Chinese are invited in. The Chinese certainly care much less about how they get their resources, for as long as they get them. LOL, can't help but admire the total lack of Zimbabwean strategic thinking. Unlike the white farmers, the Chinese in Zimbabwe will certainly multiply in numbers, and won't let go as easily.

MeBizarro's picture

Your last comment is spot on.  The Chinese won't initially be burdened with the historical 'white/black' issues due to European colonalism and why they were so willing accepted.  Chinese though are they going to sulk/brood/internal retrospectively like the Europeans were either especially after WW2 nor are they in an economic contractionary period which forced out the Europeans after WW2.

They'll move in and move in force through $$$ and most importnatly people largely through SOEs and they won't leave.  By the time the rank-and-file Africans realize what is going and/or get really frustrated/angry that all of this economic development did almost nothing to improve their lives, they'll realize they inherited new Chinese overlords instead of Europeans.  Americans and Soviet both vied there for proxy states during the Cold War but neither one sent large numbers of their citizens to live there like the European countries did in the late 19th/early 20 century or the Chinese are going do.

rivoniaboy's picture

Not Quite!

We seem to be crediting the Chinese with some sort of superior intelligence when it comes to Africa.Forget it,they are setting themselves up for an important educational experience. They will fare no better than any of the other colonialists that came before them.

 When the Zimbabweans realised that they have been duped they will rage a relentless war against their Chinese overlords regardless of numbers.History should make that perfectly obvious.

MoneyThimbles's picture

And then the Chinese will exterminate them. They aren't burdened by Christian or post Christian morality, for a start. Africa is going to be the new Xinjiang.

Martel's picture

...all of this economic development did almost nothing to improve their lives, they'll realize they inherited new Chinese overlords instead of Europeans.

Exactly, and to some extent these overlords have worse attitudes than those they chased away. The Chinese are crafty traders, and have ended up on top of the society in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand etc. Them becoming overlords in Africa in short order is a done deal. I think they're better in colonializing places than Europeans. For example, Tibet (conquered in 1949) will be forever Chinese, while e.g. the 1.4 million French 'Pied-Noirs' were completely kicked out of Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia etc. even after 100 years.

Dutch's picture

Or the Chinese will strip the country of resources and then move on. Why deal with the legacy colonial issues as the Europeans have done for the last few decades?

laomei's picture

More realistically what is happening (if you're paying attention), is that China has a multi-phase plan in place for development.

1) Use resources as a basis for loans and development aid.  This is easy stuff.  One party needs the resources, the other needs development.  Education exchanges are setup and put into place to provide more experience and development.  Weapons exchanges? No hassles no pre-conditions either.

2) As a part of the deal, China invests heavily in infrastructure as this lowers extraction costs and provides stability.  Good roads, schools, housing, hospitals, etc.  This stabilization factor results in more opportunity in the commerce sector.  This promotes less political extremism as doing so would ruin what has been accomplished.

3) To prompt growth of commerce, Chinese migrants start showing up, setting up shops, introducing Chinese goods and hiring local labor.  A good long history of this actually, and a very large chunk of the migrants end up marrying and settling down in their new home.  This promotes more cross-trade, better wages, more stability and again, more opportunity.  Local retail tends to bitch at the competition because the Chinese owners tend to bust their asses, forcing market changes.

4) Once minerals and resources are no longer a major concern, the economy is on it's feet, the region is stable, there are deep binding ties, good infrastructure and generally it's been mutually beneficial.  China gets the resources and a new reliable market.  Zimbabwe get stability and more prosperity on their own terms.  It's been all carrot, no stick, which means that if there is some massive political change, there's no reason to break ties.


Euro-style was basically just slavery, taking of land without compensation to hand off to whites, control over puppet governments, cash cropping without concern to local needs and pure extraction of wealth.  When it came undone, there was nothing of any real benefit left, just lots of "stick" to force the "independent" government to heel.

Ar-Pharazôn's picture



you are totally ignorant of Africa's history.


it's plenty of cases where inftastructure of everfy kind of development didnt prevent a civil war or any kind of upraising

CPL's picture

"Man that go through turnstile sideways going to bangcock."

- some guy.

GeezerGeek's picture

If Zimbabwe's president-cum-dictator, Robert Mugabe, thinks it's okay to give bases to the Chinese, I'm sure that the United States' president-cum-dictator, Barack Obama, will have a few words to say, and assure Mugabe that there will be a cost to pay.

Renewable Life's picture

Meanwhile......back in the US, the population stirred with excitement as Spring Training got underway and another season of the Voice kicked off!!

Everyone's EBT cards were still working fabulously and according to Big Brother, unemployment and inflation were low and contained, it is the best of times!!!

Cash-NonCash's picture

The typical USA slave probably doesnt consume ZH- however those that do realize the herd-mentality you speak of... is toxic.  Wake up people and focus on yourselves- not on your distractions. They are the trap.

RSloane's picture

This is what's so laughable. While the US is busy making itself appear as hypocritical as possible over the Ukraine, South America collectively now has Russia and China as their largest trading partners. I guess the generous offering of putting South Americans on food stamps and welfare should they make it to US territories is just not working.

We have so long meddled in South American affairs pivoting to ignoring them completely has made them welcome China and Russia with wide open arms. In fact, anti-US rhetoric is so popular that its a must in any political campaign.

GeezerGeek's picture

Latin America has a long history of hating the United States. I remember Nixon's less than enthusiastic welcome there while still Vice President. Recalling what Teddy Roosevelt did to Colombia with regard to Panama, I can't say I blame them for dispising the US.

johanngalt's picture

One might think the Panamanians would therefore have the opposite opinion.  They don't.

Mad_max's picture

Who needs resources when you have a printing press!


fire 'em up

Herodotus's picture

If we could only get them to takeover Detroit!

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Resources are the game.  That and leverage and projection

Smegley Wanxalot's picture

Oh my.  This may just force NATO to threaten to have meetings, and then later, to meet some more.  Scary shit, NATO is.

Overfed's picture

Ultra-modern dirt road landing strip? Is that the right picture?

Urban Redneck's picture

Don't bust on the dirt runways, the ultra modern ones are dirt + advanced chemistry, and can be laid down in one day (on flat land). Refining oil into asphalt is really antiquated technology, but it does make for a nice looking wearing course.

zerozulu's picture

Its camouflaged from Google earth. painted with dirt colors and painted bushes, i think.

The.Harmless.Who's picture


good for them I guess? 


Whatever... good for Zimbabawe and its people is what I hope for. 


The people of Zimbabawe might do better (marginally) with the Chinese than the zionist garbage and their bankster agents I suppose (and hope). 





crash commando's picture

They can have it.  Especially that mud strip that's "ultra-modern".