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Liberia’s House of Reps Blocks Controversial Chinese Mining Deal

File image of the Liberian legislature.

A fascinating political struggle is playing out in Liberia over a controversial 25-year iron ore deal with Chinese company BAO Chico. Last week, the Senate ratified the deal in what critics contend was effectively a rubber stamp decision after only minimal discussion and no expert testimony.

This prompted one of the country’s leading newspapers, the Liberian Observer, to publish a pair of stinging editorials aimed at both the Senate and President George Weah for not publishing the terms of the contract with BAO Chico as is required under law. The paper also claimed that civil society organizations had been silenced out of fear of retribution from President Weah.

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