Oby Ezekwesili is not backing down, and has re-fired her belief that China should pay African countries for the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Click China Must Pay if you missed reading her previous article.

In their prickly reaction to my April 16 Washington Post #ChinaMustPay article (a response published in the Guardian Newspaper of May 3, 2020), the Government of China through their Embassy in Nigeria missed the opportunity to responsibly address the serious issues raised.

I must repeat that Africa deserves to be paid a compensation for the damages COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting on lives and livelihoods.

Unfortunately and unfairly, my country, Nigeria, is one of fifty-four countries in Africa that are struggling to respond to the disruptive effects of China’s failure to take responsibility for a pandemic that could have been easily contained and localised to avoid the ruin it has caused our continent and the world at large.

Since Beijing failed to adhere to basic scientific and research transparency in the critical early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, it must accept responsibility with humility.

Therefore, a legitimate demand for accountability and payment of penalties by rich and powerful countries for damages their behaviours do to vulnerable people ought not to attract the kind of sour response China released.

There are six points that authorities in Beijing ought to humbly consider.

First, it is now clear to the world that China’s opaque handling of the pandemic is costing my country, our continent and people too much in lost lives and livelihoods. The unjustified suffering of the poor and vulnerable brought on by the actions of a comparatively rich and powerful country demands a new system for addressing global inequities.

I maintain that information in the public domain points to the fact that China suppressed vital information from the rest of the world on COVID-19.

The burden to present convincing counter-factual information lies with China and,so far, it has failed to do so.

Second, I assert again that China owes Africa yet-to-be-estimated compensation.

Its acts of negligence in December and early January resulted in a fast-spreading global pandemic that collapsed the continent’s economic growth from 2.9% in 2019 to negative 5.1% in 2020.

Most importantly, China should, in the interim, take responsibility and ease the severe fiscal pressure on our countries, by announcing a cancellation of over $140bn in loans its government, contractors and banks have advanced to Africa over the last two decades.

Following this debt cancelation, an international consortium made up of the G20, China, Africa Union Commission and global institutions like the United Nations, World Bank and IMF should be constituted to assess the full extent of damages and the compensation due.

Third, Chinese authorities should know that we are Africans who are not lackeys of any power.

Laying a baseless charge of “dancing to the tune of others” to an African reveals an appalling mindset toward our continent. It may in fact be this same sort of attitude that frames the extremely offensive profiling of Africans who are resident in China.

We do not dance to the drumbeat of any country or any continent — our sole tune is the African Beat.

Fourth, the spirit of transparency ought to be in China’s own interest.

It is intriguing that Beijing has so far failed to embrace my suggestion to allow an Independent International Panel of Experts to review and assess China’s handling of the COVID19 pandemic. Why? Is China afraid of full disclosure that can help the world learn vital lessons on how to manage global threats and risks better?

Fifth, this global New Normal requires faster prevention of cross-border risks and threats. The best antidotes to minimize global negative externalities that harm the weak and vulnerable are absolute transparency and removal of information asymmetries by countries.

As part of this New Normal, the global community has a duty to learn and correct past failures to penalize bad behavior. My #ChinaMustPay article is a call therefore to innovate global mechanisms that compel countries to start now to do the right things whenever risks and threats emerge.

Innovation is what China rode on to economic greatness. What then is wrong with asking for such as a legitimate part of our global New Normal?

Sixth, it should be in China’s historic and conscientious national interest to prevent future exploitation of vulnerable countries by economic superpowers. I did acknowledge previous global risks that similarly emanated from other rich and powerful countries and injured Africa’s economic growth and development.

I find it hard to believe that China, given its history and experience with colonial mistreatment, would want this cyclical pattern to continue. Do the authorities in Beijing really want Africans to simply accept harmful actions of rich and powerful countries?

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in an April 2020 report on coronavirus pandemic stated that “over 300,000 Africans may lose their lives due to COVID-19.” According to the Africa Union Commission, the coronavirus is already collapsing many economies in Africa and worsening poverty.

Already, the livelihoods of hundreds of millions on the continent, especially children, young people and women are already lost to the damaging economic disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The IMF calls the impact of the pandemic on Africa as “the worst reading on record”. It went further to state that Africa’s “Fiscal space is limited, and fiscal financing needs to address the crisis are large – at least $114 billion for this year”.

International rating agencies have massively downgraded the credit ratings of African countries making investors more skittish.

I proposed a penalty system in the form of a Global Risk Burden Tax that will from now be payable to weaker and more vulnerable countries and their people whenever forced to bear a disproportionate burden from preventable global risks that emanate from rich and powerful countries.

Such a penalty tax would also serve as a disincentive to prevent the kind of unbecoming actions and decisions that escalated the spread of the deadly virus out of Wuhan.

China must know that where our lives and livelihoods are concerned, no country, regardless of how powerful it may be, can intimidate us Africans ever again.

Beijing should do the right thing now and accept the debt it owes Africa as a result of its failures on COVID-19. That is how responsible world powers should behave in the 21st Century if they are to be taken seriously.

There has been a widespread financial challenge globally, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. As so, Oby Ezekwesili former Vice President of the World Bank’s Africa division has therefore called on China to take responsible actions to support Africans financially. She shared her opinion in an op-ed for Washington’s Post, below:

The covid-19 pandemic has dealt a severe injury to Africa’s development prospects and worsened the conditions of its poor and vulnerable. Although there are calls for voluntary international aid to support the continent during this difficult time, this is far from the best solution.

The continent must be accorded damages and liability compensation from China, the rich and powerful country that failed to transparently and effectively manage this global catastrophe. Africa’s economic gains since the last global crisis have been eroded. It is time to make offending rich countries pay the poor ones a global risk burden tax for delaying their rise out of poverty.

Today, Africa is home to more than 70 percent of the world’s poorest people, with more than 400 million living below the poverty line. It is no surprise that it is disproportionately vulnerable to this crisis. It should not suffer even more because yet another powerful country failed to act responsibly.

China should immediately announce a complete write-off of the more than $140 billion that its government, banks and contractors extended to countries in Africa between 2000 and 2017. This would provide partial compensation to African countries for the impact that the coronavirus is already having on their economies and people.

The analysis of the balance of compensation due to Africa can then follow from discussions with the Africa Union and its member countries, alongside global and regional organizations including the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank and the European Union.

Our world is long overdue for a change of approach in the way it manages global risks that leave the poor worse off due to failures of the rich and powerful. The current model of development assistance is broken and can never deliver any real change of fortune for the most vulnerable. We need a new model that strengthens people to engage in the design of their pathway out of poverty and builds economic resilience.

The current conditions mirror what happened during the 2008 global financial crisis. In my time as the vice president in charge of the World Bank’s operations in Africa, we had to mobilize internal and partner resources to mitigate the severity of the economic recession suffered by the continent. Exogenous shocks dealt a lethal blow to the countries’ decade-long steady rises of economic growth, which had averaged 5 to 6 percent annually until tumbling to 2.4 percent in 2009.

This sharp fall ended Africa’s upward economic growth trajectory and sent per capita income tumbling. It increased inequality and the number of Africans in absolute poverty. Such fragile and low economic growth rates for a continent with one of the world’s highest concentrations of young people and annual population growth rate of about 2.5 percent is a key reason for widespread multidimensional poverty — a threat that carries seeds of global insecurity and instability.

The economic shock caused by the coronavirus has badly reduced the opportunity Africa would otherwise have had to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty. The African Union Commission estimates that Africa’s gross domestic product will shrink by as much as 4.5 percent, resulting in 20 million job losses.

This has dangerously hampered the possibility that Africa can generate jobs for young people and women, or increase literacy levels by reducing the number of out-of-school children with access to quality learning opportunities. It will result in lessened ability to reduce maternal and child mortality, improve nutrition and food security, make reliable energy available and accessible, improve the availability of quality roads, water, sanitation, and other infrastructure, and such other investments in public goods.

China, a country that only within the past four decades has managed to lift more than 850 million people out of poverty, would understand how critical it is for African countries to accelerate inclusive growth. While economies in Asia, Europe and the Americas have announced hefty emergency stimulus packages for their people and businesses, countries in Africa struggle to meet short-term food needs.

Most of Africa’s countries simply do not have the buffer required for fiscal relief in times of crisis, because they were already severely constrained by budgetary crises caused by poor domestic revenue mobilization, high public debts and low productivity. The parlous public finances of these countries worsened due to volatility in commodity prices as the pandemic worsened.

Africa faces frequent shocks caused by climate, terrorism, health issues, food insecurity, crime and other sources of risk. Most of these perils emanate from the failures of the rich and powerful economies, but end up inflicting a disproportionate share of the poor and vulnerable.

China should demonstrate world leadership by acknowledging its failure to be transparent on covid-19. Beijing’s leadership should then commit to an independent expert panel evaluation of its pandemic response. China and the rest of the Group of 20 countries should engage with the Africa Union and countries to design a reparations mechanism.

It is time for rich economies to show that our world is capable of doing right by the poor and vulnerable.

China must pay.

Xia Peisu has been hailed “the mother of computer science in China.”

Throughout her long career, Peisu made numerous contributions to the advancement of high-speed computers in China and helped establish both the Chinese Journal of Computers and the Journal of Computer Science and Technology. A devoted educator, she taught China’s first course in computer theory and mentored numerous students. In 2010, the China Computer Federation honoured Peisu with its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her pioneering work in China’s computer industry.

In April 1960, China’s first home-grown electronic digital general purpose computer – the Model 107 – went live. Xia Peisu, the machine’s engineer and designer, had just made history.

After decades of war with Japan and the Chinese Civil War in the first half of the 20th Century, the country’s technological innovation had fallen behind much of the developed world. Chinese scientists relied heavily on hardware and expertise from the Soviet Union to build up their computing power after relying on the west.

But when the relationship between China and Soviet Union dissolved in 1959, China was once again isolated and it had to look inward for a way forward in an increasingly computerised world.

Within a year of the Soviet Union withdrawing aid, Xia delivered the 107 – China’s first step on the road to independence in computing.

Although currently,China happens to be a global leader in computer production. In 2011, they surpassed the US to become the world’s leading market for PCs, and the desktop PC segment of their computer industry alone is projected to bring in a revenue of over $6.4bn (£4.9bn) this year.

Xia was an important personnel to this. She helped shape some of China’s first computing and computer science institutions and developed their training materials. She taught the first computer theory class in the country. Over her career, she would usher hundreds of students into the country’s burgeoning field of computer science.

In the aftermath of war and political upheaval, Xia shaped a new field of science and a new industry in China. Through both her technological innovations and the many students she taught, Xia‘s influence resonates throughout China’s computing world today.

Born into a family of educators in the south-eastern municipality of Chongqing on 28 July 1923, Xia rarely went without an education. First attending primary school aged four and receiving private home tutelage at eight, she went on to excel at Nanyu Secondary School and graduated top of her high school class at National No. Nine in 1940.


Xia Peisu’s home of Chongqing, China during a Japanese airstrike in 1940 (Credit: Getty Images)

Xia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1945. The same year she met Nanjing war refugee and fellow National Central alumnus Yang Liming, now a professor of physics at the university.

Xia developed methodologies that could more accurately predict variations in frequency and amplitude within electronic systems, which led to wide-reaching applications for any system with an electrical frequency, from radios to TV to computers.

In 1950, she was awarded her PhD. Later that same year, she married her husband in Edinburgh. Both scientifically-minded and deeply invested in putting those minds to work in their home country, the couple returned to China in 1951. They both took up positions at Tsinghua University (or Qinghua University), where Xia worked on telecommunications research.

Xia Peisu would go on from a PhD in electrical engineering to designing China’s first home-grown electronic digital general purpose computer (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)


In 1950, the USSR and China joined an alliance, a relationship that would directly impact China’s computing industry (Credit: Getty Images)

Xia became intricately tied to Sino-Soviet partnership when, in 1953, mathematician Hua Luogeng visited her place of work at Tsinghua University and recruited her into his computer research group at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). She was now one of the three founding members of China’s first computer research group.


With her knowledge of electronics and mathematics, Xia was an ideal choice

In 1956, she joined a delegation to Moscow and Leningrad to explore Soviet research, production and education in computing. When she returned that same year, she undertook translation of Soviet computer design from Russian into Chinese, including a 1,000-page manual that became the course text for teaching Chinese students Soviet computing.

Xia was involved in developing the computer science courses at both institutions, and as a course developer and lecturer, she oversaw the training of hundreds of students between 1956 and 1962.

“What [China] needed above all was a training program,” Mullaney notes. Xia gave them one.

By 1959, China had succeeded in replicating two Soviet electronic computer designs; the 103 model and the 104 model, each based on the Soviet M-3 and BESM-II computers respectively. But just as China began making progress in producing computers, the Sino-Soviet relationship was in dissolution.

The relationship had become so bad by 1960 that the Soviet Union withdrew all support, both material and advisorial, from China, says Mullaney. After the Soviets withdrew, many other countries assumed that China’s computing industry just stopped.

It didn’t.

Far from stopping after the 1960 USSR withdrawal of support, China’s computing industry continued to advance (Credit: Getty Images)

Xia’s 107 model was the first computer that China developed after Soviet withdrawal, and unlike the 103 and 104 models based on Soviet design, the 107 was the first indigenously designed and developed computer in China.

Throughout this time, Xia continued a balance of research and development in high processing speed computers and training new computer scientists and engineers. In 1978, Xia helped found the Chinese Journal of Computers as well as the Journal of Computer Science and Technology, the first English-language journal for computing in the country. And in 1981, she developed a high-speed processor array called the 150AP. Compared to the earlier Soviet-based model 104 that performed 10,000 operations per second, her 150AP boosted a computer’s operations to 20 million per second.

Due in large part to Xia, computer science coalesced into an independent field of study in China and the country’s computer industry emerged despite a tumultuous beginning. “In terms of someone who held her position and was such a central actor in a leadership role, I have not come across other women of her stature at that time,” Mullaney says.

By the 1970s, China had developed powerful, sophisticated computers with integrated circuits (Credit: Getty Images)

She was later named the processing chip of China’s first CPU computer “Xia 50”.

Dubbed in China the “Mother of Chinese Computing”, Xia is still recognised as a founding member of the country’s computer industry. The China Computer Federation awards the Xia-Peisu Award annually to women scientist and engineers “who have made outstanding contributions and achievements in the computing science, engineering, education and industry”. Chen Zuoning and Huan Lingyi received the award most recently in 2019: Chen for her work in developing domestic high-performance computing systems and Huan for her research in CPUs and other core computer devices. Continuing along the path Xia charted for them, Chen and Huan have strengthened China’s domestic computer technology.

In a world of lost untold stories of heroes,  BBC new Future column, “missed geniuses” is out to celebrate them today.

For full article click here

Dolce & Gabbana has released an apology video following backlash it received for an ad campaign for their Chinese audience.

The campaign, which features an Asian model attempting to eat Italian food with chopsticks, has been described as racist.

In the clip, a Chinese woman dressed in the brand’s clothes giggles as she tries to use chopsticks to eat a pizza, a large cannoli, and spaghetti.

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#DGlovesChina ? More like #DGdesperateforthatChineseRMB lol.  In a bid to further appeal to luxury’s covetable Chinese consumers, @dolcegabbana released some hella offensive “instructional” videos on the usage of chopsticks.  Pandering at it’s finest, but taken up a notch by painting their target demographic as a tired and false stereotype of a people lacking refinement/culture to understand how to eat foreign foods and an over-the-top embellishment of cliché ambient music, comical pronunciations of foreign names/words, and Chinese subtitles (English added by us), which begs the question—who is this video actually for?  It attempts to target China, but instead mocks them with a parodied vision of what modern China is not…a gag for amusement. Dolce & Gabbana have already removed the videos from their Chinese social media channels, but not Instagram.  Stefano Gabbana has been on a much-needed social media cleanse (up until November 2nd), so maybe he kept himself busy by meddling with the marketing department for this series. Who wants to bet the XL cannoli “size” innuendos were his idea? Lmao. • #dolceandgabbana #altamoda #rtw #dgmillennials #stefanogabbana #shanghai #chinese #italian #cannoli #meme #wtf #dumb #lame #chopsticks #foodie #tutorial #cuisine #italianfood #asianmodel #asian #chinesefood #dietprada

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Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana released the video on Facebook, apologising for the ad which resulted in the cancellation of the brand’s show in China on Wednesday.

“In the face of our cultural misunderstanding, we hope that we can earn your forgiveness,” Domenico said.

“We will never forget this experience and lesson, and this sort of thing will never happen again,” Stefano said.

Watch video below:


Credit: Bella Naija