China puts '700,000 troops' on Sudan alert.
August 28, 2000 12:15 AM   Subscribe

China puts '700,000 troops' on Sudan alert. "The Chinese have been brought in by aircraft and ship ... We've all seen the Chinese being brought in and can only pray about what's going to happen next." I am quite suprised I haven't heard more about this in the western media.
posted by cmacleod (4 comments total)
That's mainly because the West officially "doesn't care" who wins or loses in this civil war ... most of the assets were nationalized or abandoned years ago.

This story is a little breathless, but I do imagine that a real military buildup in the Sudan by China would elicit at the very least an official statement from Washington.
posted by dhartung at 8:54 AM on August 28, 2000

Maybe a statement like, "We in the United States feel that it is wrong for any country to use military force to preserve economic interests in oil-producing nations. Any country besides us, that is."
posted by owen at 11:26 AM on August 28, 2000

700,000 soldiers is one hell of a lot.

The article claims they've been flying people in for three years at the rate of three flights a week. Assuming each of those flights is a 747-400 with a full complement of 524 passengers, and that none of the people flown into the Sudan has left since this project began, that's 82,000 people.

Now to account for the missing 618,000: if we imagine that they were simultaneously shipping three boatloads of people per week, for the full three years, each ship would have to carry roughly 4,000 passengers (equal to the largest cruise ship ever built). This trip is around 7,000 miles, so let's assume they have fast ships and call it two weeks each way - which means a dozen of these mega-ships in transit continuously.

This is one massive operation we're talking about here. Either the Chinese government has been busily moving 40% of its army around the globe for the past three years and nobody has seen fit to comment until now, or the article is wrong. Mark me down as "intensely skeptical".

Or my math is wrong :-)

posted by Mars Saxman at 1:23 PM on August 28, 2000

Anyway you slice it, and no matter how many troops are moving in, this can only spell disaster for the millions of Sudanese who are currently trying to merely scrape by. I lived in Sudan for many years, I weep for what has happened and what may be to come for one of my adopted homes.

And you can hold your breath until you're blue, Madeline Albright has decided that the Sudan is off the Clinton administration's radar screens (because there's no political hay to be made on doing something for a bunch of poor Africans?) therefore, it's Not Of Interest For the Rest of Us.
posted by Dreama at 11:49 PM on August 29, 2000

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