China Fuels Repression in Darfur

Shameful History of Arming Sudan Mars Beijing's Reputation on Eve of Olympics

AUGUST 6, 2008

New York, NY- China has been the most egregious violator of the global arms embargo on Darfur, supplying guns and ammunition to the Sudanese government that have been transferred into the region, according to a new issue brief released by the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. Since 2004, the vast majority of Sudan's small arms and light weapons have come from China, and many of them have found their way into the hands of the notorious Janjaweed militias in Darfur.

DEADLY TRAFFIC: China's Arms Trade with Sudan
<>   is available at the New America Foundation website.

"China's domestic policies have come under much-deserved scrutiny in the run-up to the Olympics," notes William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Initiative and the author of the new report. "But we shouldn't forget that the Chinese government's most egregious act has been its role as an enabler of mass murder in Darfur. Without Chinese support, the ability of the Sudanese government and its allies to kill, maim, and intimidate the people of Darfur would be greatly diminished."

The arming of Sudan is just the most damning example of a Chinese policy that has resulted in major weapons exports to repressive regimes in Zimbabwe and Myanmar, as well as sales of missile technology to Iran and Pakistan. While noting that China controls only 2% of the global arms market, Hartung asserts that "China's impact is measured less by the value of its sales than by the character of its clients. It is the
supplier of last resort for dictators and human rights abusers."

In answering the question of why China engages in weapons trafficking to the Sudan, the report notes that China is essentially "bartering arms and political support for access to Sudan's oil resources." Hartung argues that any policy designed to stop Chinese weapons sales to Sudan must address Beijing's economic interests there. In the short-term this could mean imposing economic costs by conditioning increases in trade and investment on China's willingness to stop arming the Sudan. In the longer-term, Hartung suggests a policy of energy cooperation between Washington and Beijing that could help "disentangle both nations from dependence on oil-rich tyrannies."

To arrange an interview, or for more information, contact William D.
Hartung at 212-431-5808, ext. 201, or e-mail; Mr. Hartung is based in New York City.

Additional resources:
 Arms and Security Initiative Overview

 DEADLY TRAFFIC: China's Arms Trade with Sudan