A BBC documentary alleging China has violated the UN arms embargo in Darfur is biased and made with ulterior motives, China's special envoy for Darfur said yesterday.
The investigative documentary, telecast last night, shows Chinese Dongfeng trucks in western Darfur, and alleges that their markings indicate they were exported to Sudan in 2005 after the UN arms embargo had been imposed.
The documentary, China Fueling War in Darfur, cites unnamed sources as having said that China was training pilots for jet fighters exported to Sudan.
"The program is strongly biased," Liu Guijin, China's special envoy for Darfur, said. China has never violated the UN embargo, he said. "China's arms sales were very small in scale and never made to non-sovereign entities. We have strict end-user certificates."
China is not a major arms supplier to Sudan, a fact the Western media always tend to forget. In fact, a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report, issued in March, said China accounted for only 8 percent of Sudan's arms imports from 2003 to 2007.
"Some Western countries have traditionally been supplying arms to African nations, and they far outweigh China's in terms of both quantity and quality," Dai Yan, a former Chinese diplomat posted in Ghana, said.
The Global Times has quoted military experts as saying it is "not objective" to single out Chinese trucks as "military equipment" when several brands of trucks and other vehicles are used by the Sudanese military, police and even rebels.
"Some people in the West have been trying to play up the Darfur issue ... and are trying to stir new trouble," the newspaper has quoted Ma Zhengang, president of the China Institute of International Studies, as saying.
"A few shots of Chinese trucks in Darfur cannot be used to accuse China of fueling the conflict in Darfur," Liu said.
"A minister of an African country told me at an international conference in March that the Darfur conflict has been dragging primarily because rebels keep getting arms from Western countries and those arms are more advanced than the ones being used by government forces," he said.
(China Daily July 15, 2008)