PetroChina in the Sudan

April 17, 2000

In the last few months I have been talking about the persecution of Christians in the Sudan. But I haven't mentioned the role oil companies may be playing in this shameful affair. Events on April 6 illustrated this connection.

Despite protests from a diverse group, China National Petroleum began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Groups spanning the ideological spectrum called on the Clinton administration to halt the trading, but to no avail. The groups included Amnesty International, Students for a Free Tibet, the AFL-CIO, Freedom House, the U.S. Business and Industrial Council, and the William J. Casey Institute.

China National Petroleum is owned by the Chinese government and is using oil from the Sudanese oil pipeline. This affects Sudanese Christians in two ways. As the companies dig for oil, thousands of Christians are forced from their land and killed in the process. Second, the Khartoum government is using the money to buy weapons which are used against Christians in southern Sudan.

The protests appear to have had some effect. When the stock for PetroChina (a subsidiary of China National Petroleum) was offered at the initial public offering, the price remained flat. The profit projection dropped from $10 billion to less than $3 billion.

Two key players in this are the Canadian company Talisman Energy and BP-Amoco which holds two percent of PetroChina. Christians and human rights groups are calling for a boycott of BP-Amoco gas stations.

Nina Shea, of the Center for Religious Freedom, says "Until oil came online last August, [Sudan] was a bankrupt, pariah state. Now [China National Petroleum is] providing it with the financial means and international prestige to finish off its genocidal campaign without a word of protest from the United Nations or Western political leaders." It's time for Christians and other groups to step up the pressure against China and Sudan.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.