Northern Ireland and the business of arming China & Zimbabwe

Today's front-page lead in The Guardian, Chinese ship carries arms cargo to Mugabe regime, reminds me of the possible role of two Northern Ireland companies in helping to arm China and, through China, Zimbabawe.

We revealed the possible inclusion of Northern Ireland made components in Chinese attacks jets, which we understand to have been sold on to the decidedly human rights-unfriendly states of Zimabawe and Burma. Goodrich Engine Control Systems of Belfast may be contributing engine controls for the Chinese K-8 Karakorum attack jet, which is reported to have been exported to countries including Myanmar, Colombia, Sri Lanka and, in 2005, Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile Co Antrim-based Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Ltd has helped develop and test ejector seat systems for the same and other Chinese jets.The full story is available in our report Northern Ireland: Arming the World which we published in September (press release here).

I'll be talking about all this tomorrow in L/Derry as part of Amnesty's activism taster day in Sandino's on Water Street. Feel free to come along and find out more, 10:30am – 5pm.

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