In the early days of South Africa … well, not the really early days, but some time in the 19th century or early 20th century, a fairly large number of Chines people were imported as workers/slaves. One of the reasons to do this was to break the indigenous workers’ efforts for reform. It failed, and the Chinese became of no special use to the Apartheid government or the mining corporations, so they were sent back. All of them.Nonetheless, there are some 200,000 or so “ethnic Chinese” living today in South Africa. Now, I do not really know for sure who these people are or how they got there, and I’m not totally trusting that they are really “Chinese” … in South African English, the word “Chinese” means “Asian.” But whatever, there they are.The reason I’m even mentioning this is because of this fascinating news story that has come out today from the BBC:
The High Court in South Africa has ruled that Chinese South Africans are to be reclassified as black people.It made the order so that ethnic Chinese can benefit from government policies aimed at ending white domination in the private sector.The Chinese Association of South Africa took the government to court, saying its members had been discriminated against….The association said their members often failed to qualify for business contracts and job promotions because they were regarded as whites.The association said Chinese South Africans had faced widespread discrimination during the years of apartheid when they had been classified as people of mixed race.The BBC’s Mpho Lakaje in Johannesburg says the Broad-Based Economic Empowerment and the Employment Equity Acts were designed to eradicate the legacy of apartheid which left many black people impoverished.The laws give people classed as blacks, Indians and coloureds (mixed-race) employment and other economic benefits over other racial groups…..