Now Peter Hitchens in the Mail Online writes this. As the pundits say, read the entire thing.
History is repeating itself once again, but has entered the tragedy phase, one that never ends.
Here's the core of the story:
These poor, hopeless, angry people exist by grubbing for scraps of cobalt and copper ore in the filth and dust of abandoned copper mines in Congo, sinking perilous 80ft shafts by hand, washing their finds in cholera-infected streams full of human filth, then pushing enormous two-hundredweight loads uphill on ancient bicycles to the nearby town of Likasi where middlemen buy them to sell on, mainly to Chinese businessmen hungry for these vital metals.
Out of desperation, much of the continent is selling itself into a new era of corruption and virtual slavery as China seeks to buy up all the metals, minerals and oil she can lay her hands on: copper for electric and telephone cables, cobalt for mobile phones and jet engines - the basic raw materials of modern life.
That's right, this time it's the Chinese. Their own propaganda sells Chinese involvement as enlightened and bringing nothing but benefits to the Africans, but reality has a nasty way of not following the party line.
The Chinese leadership may even believe that they are doing good. But anyone who would bother to really look at Africa knows the problems of endemnic corruption and the zero-sum way of life there, and you have to change the culture before you will have economic growth: the Chinese leadership, of course, believe that they have subdued their citizens (hah!) and that they can do the same for the Africans.
They can: it will require the same kind of mass starvation and megadeaths that Chinese communism required until a painful status quo was achieved between power and responsibility in China, one that is vastly less stable than one would be led to believe.
But this time it's Africa, and this is nothing less than the worst colonialism since Belgium ran the Congo, and that is saying a lot.
China offers both rulers and the ruled in Africa the simple, squalid advantages of shameless exploitation.
For the governments, there are gargantuan loans, promises of new roads, railways, hospitals and schools - in return for giving Peking a free and tax-free run at Africa's rich resources of oil, minerals and metals.
For the people, there are these wretched leavings, which, miserable as they are, must be better than the near-starvation they otherwise face.
Persuasive academics advised me before I set off on this journey that China's scramble for Africa had much to be said for it. They pointed out China needs African markets for its goods, and has an interest in real economic advance in that broken continent.
For once, they argued, a foreign intervention in Africa might work precisely because it is so cynical and self-interested. They said Western aid, with all its conditions, did little to create real advances in Africa, laughing as they declared: 'The only country that ever got rich through donations is the Vatican.'
Why get so het up about African corruption anyway? Is it really so much worse than corruption in Russia or India?
Is it really our business to try to act as missionaries of purity? Isn't what we call 'corruption' another name for what Africans view as looking after their families?
And what about China herself? Despite the country's convulsive growth and new wealth, it still suffers gravely from poverty and backwardness, as I have seen for myself in its dingy sweatshops, the primitive electricity-free villages of Canton, the dark and squalid mining city of Datong and the cave-dwelling settlements that still rely on wells for their water.
After the murderous disaster of Mao, and the long chaos that went before, China longs above all for stable prosperity. And, as one genial and open-minded Chinese businessman said to me in Congo as we sat over a beer in the decayed colonial majesty of Lubumbashi's Belgian-built Park Hotel: 'Africa is China's last hope.'
I find this argument quite appealing, in theory. Britain's own adventures in Africa were not specially benevolent, although many decent men did what they could to enforce fairness and justice amid the bigotry and exploitation.
This colonialism is worse than what Hitchens tells: it is wrapped in the mantle of progressivsm, that same mantle that took the lead in poisoning the post-colonial discussion with its rampant anti-Western rhetoric. This is truly where the lunatics are running the asylum.
I know from personal experience with Chinese authority that Peking regards anything short of deep respect as insulting, and it does not forget a slight.
I also know that this over-sensitive vigilance is present in Africa.
The Mail on Sunday team was reported to the authorities in Zambia's Copper Belt by Chinese managers who had seen us taking photographs of a graveyard at Chambishi where 54 victims of a disaster in a Chinese-run explosives factory are buried. Within an hour, local 'security' officials were buzzing round us trying to find out what we were up to.
Everyone in Africa knows China's Congo deal - worth almost £5billion in loans, roads, railways, hospitals and schools - was offered after Western experts demanded tougher anti-corruption measures in return for more aid.
Sata knows the Chinese are unpopular in his country. Zambians use a mocking word - 'choncholi' - to describe the way the Chinese speak. Zambian businessmen gossip about the way the Chinese live in separate compounds, where - they claim - dogs are kept for food.
There are persistent rumours, which cropped up in almost every conversation I had in Zambia, that many of the imported Chinese workforce are convicted criminals whom China wants to offload in Africa. I was unable to confirm this but, given China's enormous gulag and the harshness of life for many migrant workers, it is certainly not impossible.In other words, China is the new colonial power. History repeats, this time as tragedy.