In a show of China’s emerging military power, she just placed anti-aircraft missiles into Zimbabwe at a time that she is expanding her holdings over strategic mineral and ore deposits in the southern part of Africa:
In what all but amounts to turning Harare into a satellite outpost of Beijing, China has reportedly deployed and installed a dreaded new generation of surface-to- air missiles (SAM) in Zimbabwe, in what is seen as direct preparation for defending her vast economic interests in the country, with a possible signal of ratcheting up future gunboat diplomacy against the competing West, as foreign powers scramble to move into Zimbabwe for business, under the newly elected President Emmerson Mnangagwa administration, Spotlight Zimbabwe reported.
Diplomatic and military sources in the capital yesterday said the SAM technology is similar to the one, which the Asian powerhouse has deployed to the South China Sea on Woody Island, comprising of her latest HQ-9 missiles.
Woody Island, also called Yongxing Island in China and Phu Lam Island in Vietnam, is the largest of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, with an area of 2.1 square kilometres. Controlled by Beijing, it is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam, and has since been turned into nearly a no-fly Zone due to the missiles.
The revelations, certain to raise a red flag with many Western capitals, come on the backdrop of President Xi Jingping sending his special envoy, Su Hui, to attend Mnangagwa’s inauguration held on Sunday, with Mnangagwa himself set to visit China next month to attend the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
In June China hosted military chiefs from 50 African nations for a three- week security forum, as part of preparations for the launch of a strategic and military cooperation between Beijing and Africa. It was not clear if Zimbabwe was represented at the forum by the time of sending the paper to bed last night.
“This is a very serious and sensitive issue,” said one Asian diplomat who requested not to be named. “They (China) are deploying HQ-9 missiles in your country at strategic locations nationwide, and the Zimbabwe military seems to have signed up to the agreement, which will strengthen it’s ability to defend this country by default with China’s help.”
“The missile system is very advanced and similar to what they are using to protect the South China Sea Islands. This country has become very important to Beijing otherwise, they would not be moving heavy military equipment here. The former leader (Mugabe) was holding back against the idea of strong Chinese military presence in Zimbabwe, but a few months before he was removed from office last year, new and revised military cooperation agreements had been signed, therefore explaining the greenlight given to the deployment of the HQ-9.”
A senior military officer with the defence ministry said it was not possible to disclose the location of the Chinese missile system, but confirmed it existed and was a top secret national security matter.
“I can confirm about the SAM technology from China. It is there but I’m not authorised to disclose the location of such weapons, it is a state secret and national security matter. The army press department is also unlikely to help your publication further. They will not comment on matters requiring the highest security clearance.”
According to Army Recognition, a military magazine that covers technology and news from around the world, the HQ-9 is a medium-to-long range air defense missile system designed and manufactured in China by the Defense Company CPMIEC (China Precision Machinery Import & Export Corporation)
“The HQ-9 system is designed to track and destroy aircraft, cruise missiles, air-to-surface missiles, and tactical ballistic missiles,” reads an article in the magazine on China. “The system was unveiled for the first time to the public during the military parade for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The HongQi 9 development began in the early 1980s, initially based on the U.S. Patriot air defence missile system that China obtained via an unknown third-party country. Like the Patriot, the HongQi 9 uses a ‘Track-Via-Missile’ (TVM) terminal guidance system and was originally designed to be launched from a Patriot-style slant-positioned box-shape container launcher.”
The missile is a two-stage missile. The first stage has a diameter of 700 mm and the 2nd stage 560 mm, with a total mass of almost 2 tons and a length of 6.8m, the magazine further states.
“The missile is armed with a 180 kg warhead, has a maximum speed of Mach 4.2. and has a maximum range of 200 km up to an altitude of 30 km. The missile has a proximity fuse with an effective range of 35m, which goes active when the missile is 5km away from its target. The HQ-9’s guidance system is composed of inertial guidance plus mid-course uplink and active radar terminal guidance systems.”
A popular Kenyan broadcaster, Dr Mumbi Seraki, has also spoken and confirmed that China has indeed deployed ground to air missile systems in Zimbabwe, during one of her latest shows published on her YouTube channel yesterday.
In 2014, this reporter for the first time revealed China’s plans to set up an underground military base in the Marange diamond fields area in Manicaland, with our then sister publication, The Telescope News.
The disclosures sent shivers running down the spine of many officials in the country who were in the dark on the matter, forcing then minister of defence, Sydney Sekeramayi, to deny the existence of the military station. China herself has neither confirmed nor denied the alleged plans to construct the base near Mutare.
China’s influence in Zimbabwe, is set to grow stronger under Mnangagwa’s term and his deputy, Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga, is also moving to crystallise military partnership with Beijing, our sources said.
Your VP (Chiwenga) is the main actor moving things militarily with China, with the blessing of Mnangagwa,” said a former envoy from Scandinavia who was based in Harare a few years ago.
“Beijing is continuing to build her influence and power in Zimbabwe through five ways, which are: military facilities, power plants, new parliament building, a supercomputer centre and medical help.” (source)
It has been known for years that China is spreading all throughout Africa and attempting to exert herself as a major force in the region and wants to be regarded as a world military power. She already has what is regarded as the third strongest military on earth, and as industrialization precedes war, it would seem that China would be a threat to American and Western European dominance of world affairs.
But is this really the case? And how is China moving into Africa related at all to the British transfer of Hong Kong to the Chinese that began in 1997?
China has always been a population-heavy nation that has occupied a large amount of territory, and her culture has influenced all of the cultures of East Asia. Indeed, one can say that between the two nations of India and China, one can see a reflection of the amount of influence from either nation in smaller nations through cultural practices, religious beliefs, and even biological makeup. For example, a Thai and a Vietnamese are both from southeast Asia. The Vietnamese person’s culture, language, and looks are more Chinese- they share many foods in common with Chinese cuisine, their language is more reflective of the Sino-Tibetan family (ancient Vietnamese uses some Chinese characters in its writing), and they physically look Chinese. A Thai person, however, has a culture, language, and appearance that is more Indian. Their cuisine has many Indian influences, their language outright has clearly borrowed from Hindi in its writing style despite being in the Kra-Dai language family, and the people have a more “Indian” look in their physical makeup despite possessing features that are clearly associated with east Asians.
However, China is not a world power. Like Iran, she is a regional power, but she has never been a world power and there is no reason to see that she will become a world power.
Most of Chinese history is a story of continual infighting between warring nations and kingdoms. When China did unite under a dynasty, there was still continual fighting and the energies she directed never resulted in foreign conquest but rather were focused against themselves. One can contrast this with the Germans or Japanese, who while known for fighting over very small parcels of land, once the conflict was brought to an end tended to direct their energies outside of their nations to their neighbors, with Germany’s case being towards Poland, Italy, and France and with Japan being towards the Korean peninsula, Manchuria, the islands around Japan, and even parts of Siberia.
While there is a tremendous amount of racial and nationalist pride that China has impressed on its people, the idea of China being the “center of the world” (hence why China calls itself Zhongguo, meaning “middle nation”), is humorous because of the continual history of China being conquered and ruled by foreign powers. The Turkic and Aryan peoples such as the Saka, Tocharian, and Mongolians routinely occupied what is today Western China and all of Central Asia, and owing to the trade networks they set up that grew into the Silk Road, exerted considerable influence on the nation. It is a highly controversial matter in China, but there is even a serious argument to be made that Emperor Qin, who created the Chinese language (by standardizing and organizing characters), build the Great Wall, made the Terra Cotta soldiers, and created the Chinese monetary and units of measurement (for both weights and time) was not “Chinese” but of Tocharian descent.
Indeed, one could say that Sinicized persons of Turkic stock, of which many were Muslims, had a more positive affect on China than did most Chinese. One may consider the case of Ma He, a Muslim of most likely Turkic stock who was captured as a boy by the Ming in a war and later became one of the most accomplished cartographers and seamen in Chinese history.
When the Europeans began arriving and making attempts at colonizing China starting in the 16th century, it should not be viewed as something foreign to Chinese history. Europe was doing to China what regularly took place in China, except instead of it being a Turkic people from Central Asia or her Japanese neighbor engaging in routine attacks, colonization, and invasions as she did for millenia, it was now men from Europe.
Past behavior is the best indicator of future trends, and the fact that China’s history is not one of conquest, but being conquered by foreigners, while it is not an absolute indicator of future trends, suggests that the same will continue. This is because China’s greatest enemy is not a foreign power, but herself. She tends to focus her energies inwards in a way that projects racism and racist attitudes onto her own people so to consume them without regard for future consequences. This is not to say that racism and nationalism does not exist in Europe or Japan. One could easily argue that Japan is one of the most openly racist societies on earth today and in history. However, such racial tensions in Europe and Japan tend to be directed against one’s neighbors or perceived enemies rather than the self. It is the difference between setting up a hierarchy of dominance by organizing others from without, as did the Europeans and Japanese, versus binding oneself to a set hierarchy and then fighting with one’s own people for power in said structure that one has bound himself to. The former can result in expansionism and gain, while the latter is an endless cycle of arguing with oneself that tends to cannibalize any gains that are or could be made.
That said, China does not show any intentions of stopping, and she is pressing on aggressively. In terms of economics, China’s interests in South Africa focus around two major needs- platinum ore and chromium ore (chromite). We have written about platinum before and its importance in computing and modern technology. Chromium is critical for use in the production of stainless steel, and because China has a massive steel industry but little to no chrome resources, she needs to secure as much as she can in the same way that Germany needs to secure oil and gas reserves.
Currently, South Africa is the leading producer of chromite in the world, accounting for over 40%. India and Kazakhstan are second at 18% and 16% respectively. However, the Indians have their own industries and are skeptical of more Chinese intrusion into Indian territory than they already have to deal with, and Kazakhstan is in Russia’s domain and would sell chromite to the Chinese but not in such a way as to jeopardize their own industrial and military needs. Zimbabwe, South Africa’s northern neighbor, accounts for 5% of the world’s production. In combination with her status as a platinum producer and given China’s platinum needs, it explains her reasoning for attempting to corner resources in that region.
South Africa is a member of the UK commonwealth of nations and so is within the domain of the UK, and given her history with Holland has considerable sympathies with the Germans and the Dutch. Zimbabwe is considered an independent nation, but is in an active state of economic collapse owing to the racist Afro-nationalist policies of President Mugabe, who at this point would veritably welcome any investment in order to help his bankrupt nation. This also comes at a time when demand for chromite in China has never been higher, but due to dropping prices South Africa is refusing to sell to China until prices rise again.
There is also the issue of Russia, which supports China in name but not in practice. As we noted in our study on platinum, Russia has a vast array of land and plenty of platinum resources. Through her holdings in Kazakhstan she also has access to chromite, and while possessing a presence in South Africa does not need to depend on that region for her economic success. Russia’s biggest problem is her geography with China, because there are approximately 10 Chinese for every 1 Russian citizen regardless of ethnicity or beliefs. Siberia is sparsely populated, and the Russians are legitimately concerned that the Chinese may attempt an invasion. For them, China going to Africa for resources is a way of relieving some of the pressure of a potential invasion off of their borders, plus because Africa is in the historical colonial territory of the nations of Western Europe, also forces the Western Europeans, who are currently fomenting a war against the Russians as a part of Operation Gladio and the Decline of Russia Project, to divide their resources away from Russia’s western front.
While China has never been able to create a world empire in spite of past attempts, she is indeed a “threat” in the objective sense in the region, especially with the re-industrialization of the Western European powers that is happening now.
But could it be that Western Europe is emphasizing the Chinese threat because they want a Chinese threat and presence in southern Africa?
Refer to the previous discussion about China and her history of being conquered. Chinese history is brutal, and that brutality shows towards her own people, while terrible, is even worse when it applies to people viewed as “less” than “Chinese.” It is a known fact that the Chinese in Africa, when taking power, have an established reputation of destroying both the land and the peoples in Africa.
This is not to ignore the negative incidents in the history of European colonization, such as with the German colonies in Africa. But however many problems defined the European colonial experience in Africa, it was to a great extent the Europeans who brought many parts of Africa into the modern world, building cities, established infrastructure, and turning unused or poorly used land into lush farms and lucrative mines and building up the African people as colonial powers. Likewise, the decline and problems that have plagued Africa, not including the real incidents of abuse perpetrated against the same nations in powers struggles (such as with proxy wars), are directly tied to the decolonizations of the post-World War II empires.
The Chinese, while adding some value to Africa, have done little to nothing in comparison with what the British, French, Portuguese, Dutch, and even Germans (such as in the nation of Togo) did and neither is the desire shown to attempt to improve the continent in a comparable manner. While all empires extract value from their colonies, China’s imperial expansions have extracted resources but added little to no positive investment in the peoples or environment in the areas they have entered into, but instead brought much disorder and destruction. China’s presence in Africa would not be a problem if it resulted in the betterment of the African people and environment in a tangible way, but this is not the case.
While there are real problems with racism in the southern region of Africa, there is also a great respect that the African peoples in the region, who are predominately of Bantu origins, have for the Europeans as rulers who developed their nations. This was mentioned in a discussion on 4Chan about the missile silos, where people are saying, especially from South Africa, that the Chinese have been encouraging violence against white European people in the region while also noting that Africans who accept Chinese investment are doing so because of the leaders, while the common people hate them and resentment is growing against them:
Likewise, as we noted, Germany is likely inviting and assisting with the anti-white racism in southern Africa because they want “white genocide” as a excuse to justify “peacekeeping” operations in the region. It is nothing but a cover for a re-colonization and expansion as with last century, except with a socially acceptable cover so as not to start an outright war. This is not an issue of race or racism, but one of using existing racial tensions to further a specific end.
If this is the case, then China may think she is “ahead” of the Europeans when in reality she is actually behind. The racism in the region is real and is only increasing. If she stokes racism, she is only doing Germany’s work for her and will further “peacekeeping” action in the region from the Europeans. If she opposes it, nothing affects the current plan in operation.
In reality, China is at a disadvantage because the land and resources she is exploiting were not for a large part developed by her. They are the creation of the same Europeans who want their empires back, who maintain a presence in the region, and have been in a colonial sense present in Africa for over four centuries. Even with the violence of African nationalists and racists, there is already an established understanding and respect between the Europeans and the Africans, and the Africans know what they can expect from the Europeans. The Chinese, who are coming in from the outside, do not have this, and their abusive treatment of the African peoples rooted in ideas of racial superiority will cannibalize any gains made among the people in time just as how the Chinese tend to turn against themselves and engage in self-destructive behavior in China.
While China needs southern Africa, the distance from China to her and in combination with the fact that in the event of a major war she would be invaded by Japan, the benefits she gains in obtaining chromite ore and other minerals may not be in the long-term beneficial to keeping her nation together. Zimababwe has the potential to become a “black hole” of resources and investment in the event of a conflict that only imparts pyrrhic gains to her while bankrupting her of other resources and time in the same way that Vietnam became for the USA or what Afghanistan became for the Russians during the 1980s with the CIA-backed Operation Cyclone.
In 1997, the British returned Hong Kong to the Chinese on a 50-year timeline that would allow the enclave to retain most of its autonomy and generally function under British law until 2047. It does not make sense that the British would surrender a major military outpost, trade center, and banking outlet they possessed since 1842 if one considers natural circumstances. However, it does make sense if one looks at Hong Kong as a strategic wager on the chessboard of geopolitics. Remember, that while China was not formally colonized by the British, she dominated trade in China and controlled many of the events of that nation through her economic and political decisions. Likewise, there has scarcely been a century in which there has not been a major war in Europe, and we know for a fact that Europe wants to use major world events as an excuse to reassert themselves in the world.
A “paper tiger” is used to describe a threat that appears worse than it is. While the “tiger” is often associated with Chinese culture, China overall is little more than a “cardboard tiger” because while she is strong, without considering her many internal problems with economy and society, she eventually directs here energies against herself and so brings about her own downfall.
One might consider that the British gave up Hong Kong because they intend to return to seize it and, just as during the 19th century, work with the other major world powers to divide up China just like cutting a pie. This would mean they were already anticipating a war with the Chinese and planning decades ago for how to proceed with executing it, which would mean that France, Germany, and the USA were also involved.
Beware of the Chinese threats, but also do not focus on them because China is as not as strong as she would seem. China may fancy herself a hunter going out and seizing what she would call her own, but she will most likely realize too late that she always was the hunted, being lured and stalked by her own prey into a trap. The talk of China as a danger is but an excuse to instill fear in order to justify militarism for NATO and a return to war with China while inflating the already biased egos of the Chinese military, with the Europeans knowing all along their plans with backups and that as the Bible says, “Pride cometh before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).