In September 2007 the Chinese government announced a remarkable plan
to refurbish thirty-two hundred kilometers of railway in Congo.
A new railway would connect Katanga's mines directly to the Atlantic Ocean
by adding seven hundred kilometers of missing track between Ilebo and Kinshasa.
That project had been part of Belgium's Ten-Year-Plan, drafted in 1952
for the long-term development of the colony, but was abandoned at independence.
The existing track from Lubumbashi to Ilebo - almost a century old - would be completely overhauled,
and new locomotives and railcars would be purchased.


The Chinese plan for Congo would rival some of the greatest public works projects in the world,
and the new road and railway alone had the potential to turn the entire economy around,
connect markets, reunite families, and create jobs -
even while China settled in over the mines
and satisfied its growing appetite.

To Orwell Today,

Hello Jackie Jura,

How are things in the wide world? Hope you are well.

I am researching a masters thesis about China's commercial engagement in Africa, and the influence on civil society.

I am aware of the big infrastructure for minerals deal between Gecamines and the Chinese.

The Chinese have also invested $300-million in helping the Angolans rebuild the Benguela railway, which terminates a stones throw from the DRC/Angolan border. As a courtesy I have attached a UN map of DRC that has the towns I mention all marked.

Congo Map RR

There is also a plan to build a railroad from Kinshasa to Ilebo in Kasai Occidental province......which connects with an existing line that runs to Lubumbashi [sorry for the geography lesson].

It is this line that interests my curious self.......this line takes a left turn to run through to Likasi before reaching Lubumbashi. If perchance one turned right it would be about 400km as the crow flies to get to Dilolo on the border.

My question is Jackie, do you know of any documented proposals, Chinese or otherwise, to re-establish this line up to the Angolan border?

I will not lie to you and say I am avid fan of your site, although when I have either referred to it or come across it by happenstance I have always found such to be most helpful. As an aside I think I first read Orwell when I was 15 or 16......a life changing experience.

Thank you Jackie Jura, may I wish you every success for that which you undertake next along with my best regards,
Nicholas Union

Greetings Nicholas,

Thanks for your kind wishes and glad to hear that "Orwell Today" is helping in your research.

But I'm curious about why you condone what China's doing in Africa even after reading (or at least I assume you've read) the articles on my website exposing their inhumane treatment of the people and the economic destruction of every nation they're involved in. See ZIMBABWE SPADE RED CHINA and CHINA'S AFRICAN EMPIRE and CHINA OILS SUDAN GENOCIDE and MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE MUGAGE and ZAMBIA NOT FOR CHINA and DRAGON ENTERS AFRICA and CHINA PUTS ON AFRICAN MASK and DARK FATE OF AFRICA and AFRICA SILK ROAD TO CHINA and AFRICANS LASH OUT AT CHINA and MUGABE HAS YELLOW FEVER

Afro-China Map   Map Africa China

Other articles discussing China's uncivilizing influence in Africa, specifically in Congo, can be found under the headings: NKUNDA RIGHT ON CHINA WRONGS and CONGO 500-POUND GORILLA CHINA and CONGO CHINA REGIME CRONIES and CHINA RICHES CONGO NOW and KABILA-CHINA-GORILLAS-NKUNDA

In his last interview - two weeks before he was abducted and arrested - General Laurent Nkunda was asked what he thought about China's influence in Congo. His exact words were: "We cannot accept Chinese, Chinese culture.... We are going now in economic slavery if we will accept this Chinese contract. It's the end for Congolese". See NKUNDA SAY CONGO OWNS RESOURCES

Actually, I believe China is behind the arrest seven months ago of Nkunda and his imprisonment in Rwanda. He was speaking out against the upcoming deal wherein China lends Congo $9-billion dollars in the name of building schools, hospitals, roads, railroads etc (that never got built with the $11-billion dollars Congo previously borrowed for that same purpose from Western World lenders which it hasn't paid back and never will, now that IMF has granted it "poor nation status" and forgiven the loan). In reality most of the $9-billion borrowed from China (using minerals worth a million-billion as collateral) will never see the light of day in Congo anyway. It'll be regurgitated back to Chinese-owned companies contracted to build the promised infrastructure (which indubitably won't get built, except for the railroads to transport the booty to ports loading ships to China).

Nkunda, in that same interview, also spoke out in defence of Western colonization in Africa, especially the British for what they accomplished in South Africa and what, with Western help, could be the future for Congo. He said: "Congo will be the most developed country - the most strong economically country - in Africa. And in the world I always say that Congo can be the 4th or the 5th. Because we have all the resources: human resources, natural resources".

And lets keep in mind that it was the Western World who built the railway system in the Congo that the Chinese are now about to take control of and use to their benefit (not the benefit of the Congolese).

The following newspaper articles were published during the time Belgium was building the Congo railroad starting at Matadi near the Atlantic around the Stanley Pool rapids to Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) and then the section from Stanleyville (now Kisangani) to Ulundu. To help visualize I've included a map showing rivers in blue, roads in red and train tracks in black:

Congo Rail River

DEVELOPING THE CONGO: WHAT HENRY M. STANLEY EXPECTS FROM THE NEW RAILWAY. New York Times, Apr 15, 1891 (...The problem of encouraging Native labor is already solving itself -- a rich and promising field for the trade of nations...)

THE LOCOMOTOVE IN THE HEART OF AFRICA. New York Times, Dec 2, 1906 (...In the heart of Africa, 1,700 miles from the Atlantic, a little band of white men, not 200 in all, direct the labors of 5,000 negroes in one of the most remarkable conquests of nature to the credit of civilization. They press forward, step by step, clearing the tropical forests and surveying the land, throwing up embankments and laying the ties and steel rails of an iron highway as they go....)

BELGIAN RULE IN THE CONGO: EXPERIENCES OF AN AMERICAN RESIDENT, Poverty Bay Herald, Mar 23, 1907 (...When Stanley reached the mouth of the Congo in 1877, after his memorable descent, he tried to interest Great Britain in the Congo, but in vain. Then Leopold took him up...)

Now, in answer to your question about the railroad going west from Likasa to Dilolo on the Congo/Angola border, below are excerpts from a book written by a journalist who travelled to Congo in 2007 and took a railroad journey. It provides a history lesson of how the railway was built by Belgium and South Africa using European and African workers. I've quoted previously from the book describing how post-Independence corruption destroyed the railroad system and how the Chinese smuggle vast quantities of minerals out of Congo in the dark of night on covered rail cars.

To help keep track of the railroad tracks I've scanned the map below.

Congo Railroads

by Bryan Mealer, Chapter Five & Epilogue, pages 224-293

...The pressure to settle Katanga built suddenly in 1890, when Leopold found himself in a race for the territory with the formidable Cecil Rhodes, the British-born South African tycoon and empire builder. As prime minister of the British-held Cape Colony (now South Africa), Rhodes had already annexed and lent his name to Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia, the area now known as Zambia and Zimbabwe. Now he was looking to claim territory farther north, part of his scheme to connect the British empire's African colonies by railroad. Intent on pushing north toward Egypt, he ignored Leopold's borders and sent his agents into Katanga to negotiate with village chiefs....

Msiri, chief and supreme ruler of Katanga, was an obstacle. A savvy and cunning chief, Msiri had used the region's minerals to build a sizable army of warriors and arm them with guns purchased from Portuguese traders. With these weapons he'd launched a series of tribal wars in which he'd seized surrounding chiefdoms and incorporated the armies of his enemies, many of them taken as slaves, building an empire that was feared and respected throughout central Africa. Msiri was known as a cold-blooded sadist who enjoyed locking his estimated hundreds of wives in huts full of starving ravenous dogs, and executing prisoners - but not before feeding them a meal of their own ears.... Rhodes approached him first, sending a delegation to bargain with Msiri.... Msiri refused and sent the delegation away....

At the time, Leopold was broke. Building a railroad along the Congo River had left him deep in debt, and the project was only in its first year of construction.... Despite being strapped for men and cash, Leopold sent his own teams to negotiate with Msiri before the Brits could rally another attempt. Leopold would not be as diplomatic. The Belgian king sent three military expeditions into Katanga and built a garrison near Msiri's village. With a small army in place, he then dispatched William Stairs - one of Stanley's former men - to win an agreement by force, if necessary. Stairs's method was direct: he simply marched into Msiri's vilage with a hundred men and planted a Free State flag in the ground. Msiri fled to a nearby settlement, so Stairs sent one of his officers to drag him back. When the chief resisted, the officer shot him three times with a revolver before being gunned down himself by the chief's bodyguards. With Msiri dead, Belgium imposed its own handpicked chief over Katanga, thus sealing their stake in the region, and for that matter, in Congo as a whole. Because once Belgium organized itself around the mines, they never stopped producing....

So much of the country's history had played out in Katanga, collected in that bottom crevice and pushed into the heart by all the money buried in the dirt. William Stairs's murderous expedition into Msiri's kingdom undoubtedly secured the vast mineral fields for the cause of Western civilization. But the droves of fever-driven men couldn't have moved an ounce of copper until another crucial milestone was passed: September 27, 1910 - the day the Chemin de Fer du Katanga, or Katanga Railway, finally rolled into Lubumbashi. If the copper gave birth to the cities along the plains, the railroads fed them and kept them growing. As Stanley once said, "Without a railway Congo isn't worth a penny."...

When Leopold sent Stanley up the river to negotiate treaties in 1879, one of the explorer's first tasks was to build a service road around the 350 kilometers of rapids to Stanley Pool, then portage two disassembled steamships to take him upriver. A railway would then follow, allowing unhindered access from the jungles to the sea. Traveling with him were a crew of porters and laborers from Zanzibar, along with a handful of British, American, French, Danish, Belgian, and Italian volunteers who would help maintain the stations. They established a camp at a village called Vivi along Congo's estuary with the sea, then began chipping away through the Crystal Mountains toward the Pool.

After five years, which included a brief stint back home due to illness, Stanley completed the road and established a series of stations along the river -- including Kinshasa [Leopoldville], Mbandaka and Kisangani [Stanleyville] - luckily experiencing none of the tribal hostility that had plagued his maiden journey in 1877. But due to a lack of cash Leopold couldn't begin the promised railroad until 1890....

The railroad followed along Stanley's rugged wagon trail through the jagged cliffs of the Crystal Mountains. Without the aid of heavy equipment or steel cables, workers hauled materials on their backs up the steep cliffs, which climbed as high as six hundred feet in just a few miles. In all, ninety-nine bridges and over twelve hundred aqueduct canals were required. After the first two years, crews had completed only five miles of rail...After its completion, what had been a twenty-day hike along Stanley's road now only took two days by train....

Cecil Rhodes had died in 1902 without ever having acquired Katanga or his Cape-to-Cairo railroad, but his deputy Sir Robert Williams managed to find his way inside Katanga. Desperate for funding to begin mining, Leopold partnered with Williams's company Tanganyika Concessons Ltd, granting them a stake in mineral rights in exchange for helping finance a railroad to the mines (this merger would later become Union Miniere).

To build the railway, Williams brought in British-owned contractng firm Pauling & Company, who'd built railways in South Africa and Rhodesia. The nearest rail station to Katanga was 212 kilometers south of Lubumbashi [Elizabethville] at Broken Hill mine in Northern Rhodesia. The station was the northern terminus of a railroad that extended east to the Indian Ocean port city of Beira Mozambique. The objective was to extend this railroad into Katanga thus connnecting Katanga to the ocean.

The work was fast and efficient, with crews of 15 white foremen and 350 Africans laying track in assembly-line fashion, while locomotives followed behind loaded with material. The Greek, Italian, and British contractors drank heavily, packed pistols, and often wagered their pay on how many kilometers they'd push the following day, as bonuses were given to quick teams. In December 1909, the tracks crossed the Congo border, and nine months later, reached Lubumbashi [Elizabethville]....

Belgium's priority of connecting the mines to the Beira seaport had been realized. But Katanga's main mineral markets were in Europe, which meant boats leaving Beira's Indian Ocean port had to travel north, around the Horn of Africa, and pass through the Suez Canal, where heavy taxes were levied. The route quickly became a financial drain.

What Congo needed was a river and rail route completely within its own borders that could reduce the overhead. So the Belgians immediately began building the Great Lakes Railway to extend the line north from Lubumbashi [Elizabethville], connecting it with the Congo River at Stanleyville [Kisangani], where goods could flow downstream to the Atlantic. The network also connected the Congo River with Kalemie and Lake Tanganyika. But this internal route wasn't ideal: freight leaving Katanga and out the Congo River went through seven transhipments through the thick forest and river and often took months to reach its destination.

The ultimate goal was the National Route finally opened in 1928, an all-Congo rail and river network from Katanga to the Atlantic, which extended the line from the town of Bukama (the railhead along the Congo River) westward to Ilebo, which sits along the muddy Kasai River, 820 kilometers east of Kinshasa [Leopoldville] by river. From Ilebo, steamers shipped goods down the Kasai, linked with the Congo River, then headed toward the Atlantic.

The National Route would be Congo's principal network until the Second World War, when demands for copper and minerals tripled for the Allied effort (even as Belgium itself was occupied by the Nazis). During the war, Katanga provided British and American troops with the bulk of their copper, cobalt, industrial diamonds, tin, gold, silver, and uranium. In fact, the mines in Shinkolobwe supplied the uranium for the U.S. atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By the 1950s, Katanga was the fourth-largest copper producer in the world and minerals constituted nearly 70 percent of Congo's export revenue (aided by gold fields in Ituri and more diamonds in central Kasai).

By that time, Sir Robert Williams had achieved a dream of his own, the 1,348 kilometer Benguela Railway across the barren landscape of Angola, Congo's southern neighbor, which provided Katanga with an even shorter route to the Atlantic. Congo had built a link with the Benguela line in 1931, so by the time of the war the colony divided a large chunk of its export between the Benguela's all-rail network and Congo's own National Route.

However, the Benguela Railway was lost in the 1970s during the opening salvos of Angola's civil war, which lasted until 2002. And much of Congo's network slowly crumbled under the weight of neglect and unremitting conflict. Two separate secession attempts in Katanga during the late 1970s caused severe damage. And when the great war settled over the copper belt in 1998, it emptied the railroad towns of the men who kept the machine alive, scattering them over the borders into squalid camps and across the plains where those big giants once rolled. But now with peace elections, and the resulting flood of foreign investment, the old network was struggling to return....

Over the past year, residents along the 750 kilometers of electric track between Lubumbashi [Elizabethville] and Dilolo had ripped down twenty-five hundred tons of cable, using tree branches as tools, and sold it to foreigners for scrap, causing the entire system to shut down for weeks for repairs. And if that wasn't enough -- "If the traders feel they haven't sold enough product during our station stops," he said, "they'll rip out the brake systems. It may take days to fix and our workers haven't been paid in months, so how do you expect them to keep an eye on things and enforce the rules?....

Tenke, 237 kilometers northwest of Lubumbashi, was a smattering of brick mining homes with tin roofs surrounded by hills and brown scrub. The area had been developed around the 1920s after the mine was discovered, and where studies would later reveal contained ore ten times as rich in copper than most similar ores found around the world. Phelps Dodge estimated the site would produce around four hundred thousand metric tons of copper over the next decade.

Tenke was also the junction for trains heading west to Dilolo, where they once linked with Angola's majestic Benguela Railway, which after the war only had about thirty miles of functional track, near the Atlantic port of Lobito. But a new $30 million project, funded by Hong Kong-based China International Fund Ltd, had begun to rehabilitate the entire network, reconnecting Congo's quick link to the Atlantic. Repairing the railway also guaranteed the Chinese financiers lucrative concessions in oil fields off the coast of Angola, which was being prepped to become a major world producer.....

Construction on the Bukama-Ilebo route, known as the Chermin de Fer du Bas-Congo au Katanga, or Bas-Congo to Katanga Railway (BCK), began in 1923 with separate teams begining in the north and the south and slowly working their way toward the middle. Southern crews began in Bukama and were blessed with flat, arid terrain, while teams working from Ilebo slogged their way through thick equatorial jungle and heavy seasonal rain. The construction of the line drew many of the same Greeks and Italians who'd built the Katanga line into Lubumbashi [Elizabethville] years before, and also attracted a large number of young Europeans looking for adventure in dark, untamed Africa. For those who were hired, the journey to Congo was probably as surreal as anything they'd ever done.

From Europe, workers embarked on a three-week journey by ship to the port of Matadi, then boarded a train on Leopold's railway over the rapids and arrived in Kinshasa [Leopoldville] two days later. This was followed by a two-week boat ride up the Congo and Kasai rivers, with stops each night to load tons of lumber cut from the dense forests to use on the railroad's construction. At night they slept under mosquito nets in airless cabins, losing the first of many nights' rest to the sucking tropical humidity, listening to the chatter of Congolese crewmen below in the holds and the jungle vibrating outside. Once in Ilebo, the new recruits were put into tipoyes, small basketlike chairs, which porters carried on their shoulder through the jungles to the camps.

Tools and building materials bound for Ilebo followed a similar route through jungle and river, usually taking months to arive, sometimes an entire year.... The construction through the jungle was exhausting and slow, food supplies ran low, and heavy rains often destroyed several days' progress, forcing crews to begin all over again. White foremen also found themselves in tricky negotiations with local chiefs for permission to proceed through tribal land....

The north and south lines finally converged on February 13, 1928, in a stretch of jungle 762 kilometers northwest of Bukama and 359 kilometers southeast of Ilebo. A small ceremony was attended by the European workers, dressed in pith helmets and starched white shirts, and native laborers, in their bare feet staring stoically into the camera. A white-stone pillar was erected at the site, indicating the time and date of the union, and the chief of the BCK Railway was present to drive the last bolt. As the first train crossed the junction at 2:40 p.m., a priest popped a bottle of champagne. The entire ceremony took place under a driving equatorial rain....

Kabalo was a key rail junction where the route continued north all the way to Kindu, and east to Kalemi, where barges and ferries still made regular trips across Lake Tanganyika. Kabalo itself sat on the banks of the Upper Congo River, known here as the Lualaba, but had limited use as a port. Just ninety kilometers north, near Kongolo, the broad river collapsed into a deep, narrow gorge known as the Gates of Hell, rendering navigation impossible. So from Kabalo, a small spit of track connected the route to the Great Lakes Railway, the network of rails and barges that ran all the way north to Kisangani [Stanleyville], then downriver toward the Atlantic. It was still the main route for the informal traders riding the barges and rails....

There was a brief period, from 1995 to 1997, when South Africans and Belgians had operated the trains under a group called Sizarail. Mobutu had let the rail network grind down to absolutely nothing, until the South African rail company Spoornet brought in Belgian managers and took control of the Lubumbashi-Dilolo line, adding $50 million worth of locomotives and freight cars. It had been one of the only state-run companies under Mobutu that operated well. Freight moved on time, employees were paid quickly and in full, and there were regular, weekly trains. But Laurent Kabila's rebels seized the company in 1997 as they marched toward Kinshasa [Leopoldville]. They booted the foreigners out and nationalized Sizarail as Mobutu had done with so many foreign companies two decades before. The company quickly went under, and when the war swept through the following year, all those good times everyone remembered limped toward the green pasture and died....

In September 2007 the Chinese government had announced a remarkable plan to refurbish thirty-two hundred kilometers of railway in Congo, and to construct a highway that would span the nation nearly top to bottom. In addition they would build 31 hosptitals, 145 clinics, 2 universities, and 5,000 government housing units across the country. The $5 billion loan for the project would be repaid in mining concessions, and everything, they vowed, would be completed in under three years. It was a project Leopold, Belgium and Mobutu couldn't have imagined doing in over a century.

A new railway would connect Katanga's mines directly to the Atlantic Ocean by adding seven hundred kilometers of missing track between Ilebo and Kinshasa [Leopoldville]. That project had been part of Belgium's Ten-Year-Plan, drafted in 1952 for the long-term development of the colony, but was abandoned at independence. The existing track from Lubumbashi [Elizabethville] to Ilebo - almost a century old - would be completely overhauled, and new locomotives and railcars would be purchased. The proposed thirty-four hundred kilometers of new road would include a fifteen-hundred-kilometer highway that would barrel through the jungle, connecting Kisangani [Stanleyville] to the Zambian border in the south.

The Chinese plan for Congo would rival some of the greatest public works projects in the world, and the new road and railway alone had the potential to turn the entire economy around, connect markets, reunite families, and create jobs - even while China settled in over the mines and satisfied its growing appetite.... [end quoting from All Things Must Fight To Live]

All the best,
Jackie Jura

South Africa lambasts "Chinese tsunami", Business Day, Aug 24, 2009
Anger is mounting in Africa, particularly in SA, about what the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) calls a "tsunami of cheap Chinese goods" stifling local industries and wiping out jobs.... The Textile, Garments and Tailoring Senior Staff Association of Nigeria estimates 350,000 jobs have been lost directly as a result of Chinese competition and 1.5-million indirectly after more than 50 textile industries were forced to shut down over the past five years.

SA's textile union estimates 800 manufacturing units and 60,000 jobs have disappeared in South Africa since 2001 because of unfair competition from China. SA has imposed antidumping duties on Chinese products such as face cloths, door locks and handles, and blankets. But some analysts say these are token measures, perhaps reflecting a desire by South Africa not to antagonise China with its giant economy, which is growing in leaps and bounds. African countries have for decades faced a dilemma in dealing with China on trade because of Beijing’s solidarity with Africa in its fight against colonialism in the 1950s and 1960s and support of liberation movements in southern Africa. In Lesotho, which is dependent on textiles for 90% of export earnings, the garment industry collapsed after the end of World Trade Organisation restrictions on Chinese exports killed off Lesotho’s US orders.... Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said the greatest challenge for SA was that China’s products were being produced by “exploited workers” without labour rights and earning appallingly low wages. “It is for this reason that Cosatu believes SA should impose tariffs on all Chinese products,” he said.

"Out of Africa" emigrees struggle in China. Reuters, Aug 20, 2009
Guangzhou, China - Sweating heavily and yelling at Chinese police officers, a group of Nigerians dragged the lifeless body of an injured compatriot up to a Guangzhou police station, blood dripping from a deep gash on his head. Around them, a crowd of over one hundred Africans chanted, some holding sticks as others smashed potted plants and blocked traffic, demanding justice from the Chinese police after officers chased the man out of a high-rise window in a tightening security crackdown on illegal overstayers in the city this year. "They don't like black people to stay in China any more. They want us to go," said Frank, one of the Nigerians at the protest on July 15 that was filmed by witnesses. "They treat us like animals," added Frank, an illegal overstayer, who wouldn't give his name for fear of reprisals. The spontaneous protest -- a rare direct confrontation between foreigners and authorities in China -- is a vivid reminder of the challenges faced by Beijing's stability-obsessed Communist Party as it engages with the world and builds up trade links abroad. In the past few years, tens of thousands of African and Arab traders have thronged to export hubs like Guangzhou and Yiwu in eastern China to seek their fortunes -- sourcing cheap China-made goods back home to massive markups in a growing, lucrative trade...

China's boom hits Congo. Seattle Times, Jul 27, 2009
Here in one of the richest mineral belts in the world, where copper and cobalt almost seem to burst from the rugged earth, the people have grown accustomed to foreign opportunists. Anger is mounting, however, at some of the newest arrivals: businessmen from China. At lunch hour outside the smelters near Lubumbashi, the gritty capital of southern Congo's mining country, workers in fraying clothes and canvas sneakers rattle off complaints about their Chinese employers: wages of as little as $3 a day, backbreaking hours and a lack of safety equipment, which many said had led to severe on-the-job injuries and even deaths....

As Beijing increasingly looks to Africa as a market for its inexpensive goods and a major source of raw materials, war-torn Congo, which boasts enormous natural wealth yet needs help with almost everything else, has emerged as a key trading partner. As the countries prepare to cement a record $9.5 billion trade deal, however, Congolese activists say that China is turning a blind eye to substandard labor practices at the dozens of small, privately owned Chinese smelters that have cropped up across the southern mining province of Katanga....Wu Zexian, China's ambassador to Congo, said he was aware of the allegations but the Chinese government wasn't responsible for the actions of private companies. Others said China did indeed have leverage over private entrepreneurs, most of whom are backed by financing from state-owned Chinese banks. "Any Chinese operation in Congo has a fairly strong level of state ownership in it," said one Western expert who works in Katanga.

Congo's mining industry is a rough-and-tumble sector populated by U.S. and European corporate giants and small-time speculators from places such as China, Lebanon and India. In recent years, however, the large Western companies — such as Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan — have raised salaries and instituted workplace reforms, often after pressure from domestic politicians and watchdog groups. The small-scale sector, which has come to be dominated by Chinese entrepreneurs, is far less well-regulated. These individuals don't own official mining concessions; they purchase raw metals from individuals and process them for export — often to neighboring Zambia, along a Chinese-built road. While the Chinese government likes to describe its investments as a "win-win" for African nations, a case of developing nations helping each other, many Congolese have grown deeply resentful of the communist country's business practices. "There's a sense of racism between the Congolese and the Chinese, and the dynamic has become very antagonistic on the ground," said Lizzie Parsons, a Congo expert with Global Witness, a British-based watchdog group, "but people are desperate for jobs, so they do it."

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~