Beijing appears to have become a major new source of rifles and ammunition that have been pouring into sub-Saharan Africa over the past 10 years despite U.N. sanctions, The Washington Post said Sunday.
The Post said multiple U.N. investigations into the African war zones have repeatedly turned up evidence that China was the source of affordable assault weapons and ammunition used in conflicts in the Sudan, Somalia and other troubled nations.
Although the U.N. has not been able to directly link the Chinese government to arms trafficking, the government has repeatedly refused to cooperate with U.N. inspectors and has used its diplomatic clout to protect its allies in the region from scrutiny. It has also worked within the United Nations to limit the authority of arms inspectors.
Experts say China has grown in recent years into a major arms exporters and has found a thriving market in Africa. "This is really a case of unbridled capitalism, and I think the Chinese government is not even always aware of what these companies are doing," said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security.
Albright told the Post when Chinese companies are "confronted with evidence, they respond very defensively and legalistically."