This week, there were riots in the Behoririka section of Antananarivo, Madagascar after a Chinese businessman allegedly attacked one of his Malagasy employees and sent him to intensive care.  The businessman had suspected the employee of stealing merchandise.  And while the Chinese businessman has now been placed in custody, the rioters were calling for popular justice.  The riots, which had effectively closed the neighborhoods of Behoririka, Antanimena, Soarano, and Analakely, ensnared a Chinese passerby who was stuck in traffic.

China has been aggressively investing in Africa as it seeks to secure access to commodities.  Whether this is an isolated incident or a harbinger of increased xenophobia driven by fears of neocolonialism remains to be seen.  Either way, while observers in far away capitals look at these developments in the context of geopolitical grand strategy, the repercussions on the ground can be violent.

Further Reading

L’Express de Madagascar: Un Chinois incarcéré après tension

Madagascar tribune: Une demi journée très chaude

FT: China’s new scramble for Africa

The Altantic: The Next Empire

Featured Photo Credit: flickr/wallygrom