Oil for China, Guns for Darfur

A new report by a nongovernmental organization links Beijing's access to Sudan's oil with China's sale of small arms used in the Darfur conflict

China's thirst for oil is causing bloodshed. So says New York-based nongovernmental organization Human Rights First, which on Mar. 13 released a report linking China's rising imports of Sudanese oil with sales of Chinese small weapons to Khartoum, used to further the deadly conflict in the western region of Darfur. The report is part of a broader campaign called Made in China: Stop Arms Sales to Sudan, timed to coincide with the runup to the Beijing Olympics in August. "China's huge appetite for oil from Sudan filled Khartoum's coffers, enabling Sudan to buy Chinese arms," says Betsy Apple, a Human Rights First program director and author of the report. "It's a toxic oil-for-arms relationship." Apple says the group is calling for China to halt arms sales to Sudan immediately.

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