Kenya raided China’s CGTN offices in the country last week and temporarily detained some of its workers on suspicion that they were illegal immigrants.
The government later apologized and promised that it wouldn’t happen again, but the incident was nevertheless very troubling because it came a little over a week after President Kenyatta was hosted by Trump at the White House and just days after the triennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that serves as the most important event in multilateral relations between the People’s Republic and its “Global South” partners in the continent. Moreover, Chinese-Kenyan relations are at an exceptional level, with Beijing loaning Nairobi over $1,5 billion to build the Standard Gauge Railway, which essentially functions as the Silk Road’s centerpiece in the East African region’s most stable economy and was prominently featured in Kenyatta’s reelection campaign last year.
As such, there’s no reason why anyone in Kenya, much less the security services, wouldn’t be aware of their country’s strategic partnership with China and had no idea how Beijing would interpret the targeting of its nationals, especially those that are working for its publicly funded international media outlet and are therefore obviously in the country legally. This leads one to consider whether the police operation was ordered by forces in the Kenyan military, intelligence, and/or diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) opposed to Kenya’s ties with China and interested in damaging them by sowing the seeds of distrust and discord between the two countries. It shouldn’t be forgotten that this took place the same week that China hosted dozens of African leaders and roughly two weeks after Kenyatta’s trip to Washington, thus throwing its timing into question and suggesting that this was indeed a preplanned provocation unleashed for the aforementioned political reasons.
China was wise enough to not overreact and fall into the trap that was being prepared for it, but the incident must have alerted it to the likelihood that a third party – presumably the US – is working through shadowy channels in order to engineer scenarios for damaging its ties with Kenya and probably other African countries as well. This isn’t surprising since forward-looking analyses already forecast that the continent will become an increased zone of competition between Great Powers, especially in the context of the New Cold War over whether the world will retain the American-led international order or move towards the one being spearheaded by China. Accordingly, it can be predicted that more provocations like this one will occur in the coming future.
The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Sep 14, 2018:
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