The Comoros is a tiny island nation off the east coast of Africa in the Indian ocean and where a major Chinese experiment is underway. Chinese scientists and pharmaceutical have undertaken a radical experiment to test an unlicensed anti-malarial herbal medicine on the ENTIRE population of the Comoros. Succeed or fail, the stakes are incredibly high. Separately, Beijing is also playing a high-profile in the island nation’s economic development with its usual package of infrastructure and loans. Journalist Shannon van Sant traveled to the Comoros on assignment for CBS News and joins us to talk about the PRC’s big gamble on this tiny country.
Shannon has directed and filmed 18 documentaries, reporting throughout Africa and Asia for CBS News, the Economist, the PBS NewsHour and PBS television. In 2012 she was honored with a Human Rights Award from Amnesty International and the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong for her work. Her stories include extensive reporting on Chinese investment in Zambia, Uganda, South Sudan, South Africa and the Comoros and the hunt by U.S. forces for Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. In 2011 she filmed the journey of North Korean refugees escaping through China and Southeast Asia. Previously Shannon spent two years as a documentary filmmaker at CCTV, Chinese state-run television. Shannon filmed 11 documentaries for CCTV on Chinese government policies, reporting from more than 20 of China’s 33 provinces.