Posted on April 23, 2008, by Hanna Ingber, under International.
Thanks to protests from trade unions, church leaders, human rights groups and the international community, a ship carrying 77 tons of arms from China to Zimbabwe has been unable to dock and is now left hanging out at sea.
The groups argue that China sent the ammunition, rockets and mortar bombs to help Robert Mugabe win his country’s March 29 presidential election and suppress any opposition. It originally went to South Africa, but dockers banned together and refused to unload the ship, called the An Yue Jiang. It then tried Mozambique and Angola - but the people refused to let the ship dock.
According to the New York Times, the president of Zambia, Levy Mwanawasa, called on other African nations to deny the ship access to their ports. A spokesperson said: “He actually said that it would be good for China to play a more useful role in the Zimbabwe crisis than supplying arms…We don’t want a situation which will escalate the situation in Zimbabwe more than what it is.”
Zimbabwe’s justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, commented on the public outcry at a press conference: “I don’t understand all this hullabaloo about a lone ship,” he said.
The International Action Network on Small Arms, which works to stop the proliferation of small arms, shows a map on its website where you can follow the course of the ship.
Beijing said yesterday the ship may be forced to return to China.