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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 37, Number 5. 3rd April 1974

Aid from China

Aid from China

What are they saying about this in Lusaka? "This will make us independent of the illegal regime in Zimbabwe (Rhodes-is)', 'this will allow the freer flow of our copper exports to the world markets without putting freight rates into the pockets of our enemies, this will ease the shortages which Smith's border closure has presented us with.' It has led to closer co-operation with Tanzania with whose help the railway is being built by China's massive overseas aid—the opening up of remote areas that had no major communications before the new railway. Perhaps the more significant effects of the railway and border closure will be the change of attitudes and activities that will emerge from this re-orientation of trade. Zambia will become more independent and thus perhaps take a harder line with the white regimes to the south—certainly this is what Lusaka is saying. What forms will a 'harder line' take? More support to the Liberation Movements that struggle for the liberation of their homelands, is one possible demonstration of harder line action, another might be the imposition of further economic embargoes on Portugal's colonial territories and the white settler regimes; Zambia after all is a major copper producer and a member of CEPEC (the association of copper exporting countries). With 97% of its exports being copper it may follow the example of the oil producing states to put pressure on South Africa and her allies. To put pressure for example on those regimes which sell arms to South Africa and Portugal, which sell napalm and chemical defoliants to Portugal for use in Angola and Mozambique.

Image of a soldier and crouching men with their hands in the air

But there are other aspects of the situation which may change the picture when the 'Uhuru' railway is completed. Frelimo, the movement for the liberation of Mozambique, has deliberately stayed their hand in attacks on the Beira-Umtali railway that links Mozambique to Rhodesia, so that imports to Zambia etc can percolate through Beira and up through Malawi. This will not be necessary when the new trade route is available and Lusakans say that then Frelimo will step up its attacks and smash Mozambique's communications. Also by moving into these regions along the Mozambique-Umtah railway, the power lines that carry electricity from the Cabora Bassa Dam to the Republic of South Africa will he exposed to Frelimo's demolition teams.