Courtesy Reuters

The Two Chinas in Africa

The newly independent countries of Africa are now providing a somewhat bizarre setting for a continuation of the four-decade struggle between Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse-tung, embodied in their respective states, the Republic of China (Nationalist), and the People's Republic of China (Communist) . The match between the two in this sector of the larger struggle is by no means as uneven as it looks at first glance. Certainly Communist China, with its 700,000,000 people and huge land area, looms far above any individual African country-indeed, it has over three times the population of the entire African continent. Rump Nationalist China, however, while minuscule when compared to its Chinese rival, is a large state by African standards. Its population of 11,000,000 would rank it seventh were it in Africa, ahead of 27 other independent African countries, as well as the few remaining colonial possessions. Moreover, its per capita income of nearly $120, second highest in the Far East, would place it tenth in Africa.

The "two Chinas" share several assets of importance in penetrating Africa. Taiwan and Southern China enjoy a semi-tropical climate that permits the quick transfer of agricultural techniques to tropical Africa, and both have major rice crops which parallel the extensive rice potentialities of West Africa and Madagascar. In consonance with the goals of "African Socialism" as proclaimed all over the African continent, both the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang (whose general socialist tendencies are often overlooked) can claim to help the Africans in working toward this ideal. Each can point to itself as a "developing" country whose example might be followed by the development-hungry African countries, and both share the distinction of being non-white, with no history of colonial involvement in Africa.

Similarities do not end here, for the two share almost identical motives and methods in their courting of African countries. Any new African country can, on the day of its independence, be assured of receiving almost identical messages from the foreign ministries of the two Chinas, advising them that

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