March 14, 2013
The English edition of Heriberto Araujo and Juan Pablo Cardenal’s The Silent Chinese Conquest, which was apparently published under the title China’s Silent Army, has been reviewed by Bristol University psychology lecturer and blogger Zeng Biao, who also owns a consultancy on Chinese-British relations, for the newspaper 21st Century Economic Herald. Zeng notes the author’s “betrayal” of their interviewees, the Chinese entrepreneurs and managers who proudly showed them around their businesses, but add that such betrayals are the stock in trade of “political and social affairs journalists”. He adds that he feels some empathy for the small traders the authors describe, and wagers that,
if China’s global influence continues to increase and develop bit by bit, as it has, then history’s take on these Chinese peddlers will surely be full of the humour and intimacy of today’s British writings on the East India Company.
Overall, Zeng’s opinion of the book is favourable; his “only regret is that it was not written by Chinese.” And, “in order to avoid more regrets,” he recommends that it be published in Chinese.
Does Zeng agree with the authors’ alarmist tone and sees it as a positive thing, as some Chinese nationalists tend to do with Western books warning of China’s “rise?” Or does he agree with the warning, that the “silent army” has dire consequences in terms of crime, environmental hazards, exploitation and so on, as well? Or does he simply think the authors’ research deserves discussion? This is not clear.
October 25, 2011
Spanish journalists Heriberto Araujo and Juan Pablo Cardenal, who traveled around the world documenting Chinese investments and migration, have now published their book in Spanish. The title, La silenciosa conquista china, leave little doubt about their take on the subject. English, Polish and Chinese versions are in the pipeline. An excerpt of the book has been published in El Pais.
February 26, 2011
Spanish journalists Heriberto Araújo and Pablo Cardenal are working on a new book on China’s impact around the world, based on a year of travel across 24 countries, ranging from Ecuador to Burma and from Mocambique to Iran. To my knowledge this is the first book that documents Chinese investments on the ground with a global reach.
A preview of the book has just been published as a photo essay in Foreign Policy. Nice photos that nonetheless seem to emanate a rather sinister message of an invasion.
In a recent article in Hong Kong’s Sunday Morning Post, Araujo and Cardenal focus on Mozambique, where, they report, violent clashes between Chinese mine managers and African workers have continued over demands for higher wages and shorter working hours. They conclude that wages and working conditions remain worse than at Western employers (although, of course, in most places there aren’t any Western employers). But the article quotes a Zambian labour union leader as acknowledging that the Luanshya Copper Mines, owned by China Nonferrous Metals Mining Co., comes “close to the required labour standards.” According to the mine’s general manager, it has only 42 Chinese employees out of 2,500, wages start at $400, shifts are eight hours, five days a week, and there is free health care.
Considering that Zambia has seen the most protests and violence around Chinese mines, this is rather rapid improvement, although clearly, smaller companies may not be following these standards.