Letters to the Editor

A Response to Discussions of Somalia and PetroChina

_Editor’s Note: A draft of Daniel Glassberg’s letter, not intended for publication, was inadvertently printed in the December 7, 2007 edition. The Phillipian regrets the error. Printed below is the correct version of the letter._

This letter is in response to two recent Phillipian articles, one titled “The New Darfur,” from 11/30 and the second “AES Faces Controversy Over PetroChina Shares” from 11/16. First, I would like to acknowledge Annalee Leggett, who wrote the article on the situation in Somalia, for reminding the student body that there are many violent situations occurring in the world and for opening the dialogue on campus regarding Somalia. For those of you who are interested in further discussing these issues or who would like to work to end global genocide, the Phillips Academy STAND chapter would gladly offer organizational help, money and a means to connect to the national program. In the other article, Trisha Macrae brought to our attention AES’s ownership of PetroChina (PTR) stock. I would like to add some facts surrounding China National Petroleum Corporation’s (CNPC) relationship with Sudan, and some evidence that, in essence, CNPC and PTR are the same company. Presently, the main problem with drilling oil in Sudan is that 70 percent of the revenue created from the sale of oil goes directly to support Sudan’s military, which is mostly used to kill civilians in Darfur. The oil drilling by CNPC in Sudan makes up seven percent of oil used in China. Because of the benefit to China, China has invested $15 billion in Sudan, has built weapons factories in Sudan and has given Sudan the enormous gift of protection in the UN Security Council. CNPC itself has very abusive record of displacement and racial discrimination. CNPC created PTR as a subsidiary for private investors to invest in. PTR is legally a separate company, which in fact does not work in Sudan; however, PTR and CNPC are de facto the same company. Based on previous activities, there is no firewall between PTR and CNPC funds. Additionally, Jiang Jiemin, Vice Chairman and President of PetroChina, also holds the General Manager position in CNPC’s board of directors. Most startling is that 64 percent of CNPC’s assets are represented in PTR shareholder equity; therefore, investing in PTR is like investing in CNPC’s “main source of profit.” Thus, money invested in PTR may eventually fall into the hands of Sudan’s military. While AES’s investment is miniscule in comparison to PTR’s total market value, we hope that AES might consider targeted divestment for two reasons. The first is the idea that each dollar invested in PTR may end up funding genocide. The second is just a matter of principles, to avoid any implication with anyone involved in genocide. Lastly, I would like to quote Elie Wiesel, “the silence of the [bystander] helps the oppressor [and we should] scream. Scream [and] shout. That’s what you should try to do.” If we all rely on some else to act for us, then change will never happen. We must not wait. We must act. More information about CNPC, PTR and Darfur is available from STAND. Daniel Glassberg ’09 President of Phillips Academy STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition