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Reds Wearing Blue in Darfur

Yesterday, 135 Chinese engineers and medical officers entered Nyala, capital of the South Darfur region of Sudan, as United Nations peacekeepers. The Justice and Equality Movement, a rebel group, demanded that the Chinese leave immediately. “China is complicit in the genocide being carried out in Darfur,” said a JEM commander. The Paris-based Darfur Internationally Displaced People also called on Beijing to depart because “genocide and robbery are taking place in Darfur since 2003 thanks to Chinese weapons.”

China is the largest supplier of weapons to the Sudanese government, which has sponsored the murderous Janjaweed militia. Reuters reports that Beijing has increased its arms sales to Khartoum by 25-fold between 2002 and 2005, and the Chinese are still providing the tools of war. More importantly, China has continually protected Khartoum in the United Nations Security Council, where it has threatened to exercise its veto to prevent any action that might stop the killing in Darfur. It’s no wonder that Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir insisted on Chinese participation in the peacekeeping force if non-Africans were included. After all, Beijing is genocide’s best friend.

So the arrival of Chinese peacekeepers in Darfur is a hideous development. Who is responsible? The most visible culprit, of course, is the United Nations. Yet the UN is complicit because its member states make it so. Washington, for example, may not be able to prevent Beijing from using its veto to prolong mass murder in Darfur, yet we also have a veto. And we should have used all our power to prevent the Chinese from going there wearing the blue berets and scarves of the United Nations.