Sri Lanka scholar explodes China arms trade myths

Oct 07, 2012 (LBO) – Contrary to popular belief that Chinese arms sales to Africa fuel wars and human rights abuses, it is the United States that sells more weapons to autocracies there, a Sri Lankan scholar says. Much of the ‘China-bashing’ in the Western media is driven by domestic protectionist pressures and is reminiscent of ‘Japan-bashing’ during Japan’s rise as an economic superpower in the 1980s, says Indra de Soysa.

Criticism of China’s rise as a global power is driven by fear among Western elites that it could erode their own dominance, he said in a lecture titled ‘Enter the Dragon’ comparing Chinese and US arms transfers to dictators and violators of human rights.

It was organised by the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies named after a Sri Lankan foreign minister who was assassinated by Tamil Tiger separatists.

De Soysa, the warden of S. Thomas’ College, a boys’ school, said his study found that

exaggeration of China’s weapons sales in the Western media was glaring upon close scrutiny.

The media portrays China as a rising hegemon and rival to the US whose rise could lead to a new Cold War, said de Soysa, who has worked as a