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Pulitzer Center Update December 3, 2013

This Week: China's African Frontier


Media: Author:
Image by Deanna Dent. Southern Province, Zambia, 2013.

China's investment in Zambia holds promise: billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. But after...

Media file: coal_miner_in_zambia_chinese_mine-1.jpg
A worker at the Collum Coal Mine. Image by Eddie Mwanaleza. Zambia, 2013.


Several recent Pulitzer Center projects have focused on China's increasing interest in Africa and the growing dominance of the Chinese in various extractive industries. The latest is Alexis Okeowo's account in Fortune of trouble in a Chinese-run coal mine in Zambia, a country in which Chinese investors have already acquired a huge stake. The Collum Coal Mine in southern Zambia has been the scene of repeated bloodshed—Chinese bosses have fired on Zambian workers and one Chinese boss was killed by rioting miners—forcing the Zambian government to rethink its relationship with the Chinese.

"Zambia's people, over half of whom live in poverty, are doubtful they will ever get their own share of the country's abundant resources," writes Alexis. "China has invested more than $2.5 billion in Zambia and created thousands of jobs. Nevertheless, Zambians say they fear those new jobs will go to Chinese immigrants, who have already entered the country's market for unskilled work."

Alexis's reporting from Zambia has also been featured in The New Yorker. Meanwhile, for an in-depth look at China's designs on another African nation, we recommend Pulitzer Center grantee Jacob Kushner's new multimedia e-book, "China's Congo Plan: What the Economic Superpower Sees in the World's Poorest Nation." Jacob's book is now available on Amazon, the iBookstore, the Nook store, and the free Creatavist app.


Veteran radio journalist and Pulitzer Center grantee Reese Erlich has a knack for getting himself into—and just as important, out of—hard places. Earlier this year, Reese reported from inside Iran. Now he returns from a reporting trip to Syria where, as one of the few journalists to be accredited by the beleaguered Syrian government, he gleaned important insights into the staying power of regime that was supposed to be long gone.

Reese's fascinating dispatches from Hezbollah strongholds in Damascus and his conversations with senior regime officials can be found on CBS News podcasts and on the GlobalPost website.


At $20 per "program," the women who work Rio's gritty Vila Mimosa district are engaged in what Pulitzer Center student fellow Lauren Wilks describes as "survival sex." Poor working conditions, social stigma and daily risks to health and safety are just some of the issues that concern the many women who see prostitution as the only way to make ends meet.

With Brazil gearing up for next year's World Cup extravaganza, Lauren reports that efforts to "clean-up" the country's reputation as a global destination for sex tourism are not making life easier for the most vulnerable.