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The curse of Leopold

China's grab for Congo's mineral wealth is behind the current wave of fighting, not ethnic tensions

By Tim Butcher   December 2008

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History is mocking the people of Congo. In early November they should have been celebrating a milestone in international human rights, one of the very first occasions that campaigners from around the world united to protest on a mass scale.

Exactly 100 years ago the behaviour of colonial agents of Belgian King Leopold II provoked just that. Then, Congo was “the issue,” igniting a publicity firestorm from Europe to the US that drew vast crowds to public debates to condemn the behaviour of Leopold’s representatives as they pillaged the Congo river…

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