Read the full story of the reporter's convoluted trail to trace an AK-47, which took him from militia strongholds in eastern Congo to the cloistered world of China's arms manufacturers in Beijing.
Follow the links to learn more about China's presence in Africa, and the international pressure to curtail small arms trade to the continent.
The New York Times Magazine: China's African Adventure
James Traub's 2006 feature in The New York Times Magazine focuses on Chinese investment in Angola. As of 2005, Angola accounted for half of China's oil imports from Africa. The article examines repercussions for Africa, as China scrambles to exploit the country's oil and other natural resources.
The Economist: China in Africa
The Economist takes a comprehensive look at China's economic ventures in Africa and points at China's blind-eye approach to human rights violations in the regions where Chinese companies are investing.
BBC: China's Leader Begins Africa Tour
A BBC article reports Hu Jintao's highly publicized trip to Africa in January 2007. The goal of the Chinese president's visit was to strengthen trade relations with seven African countries.
Norinco: China's Largest Arms Manufacturer
As one of China's largest defense industry conglomerates, Norinco's projects include weapons manufacturing, mine operations, automobile retailing and, recently, the construction of a subway system in Tehran. Norinco's 7.62 mm Type 56-2 submachine gun is the same model Benjamin Pauker bought on the black market in eastern Congo. Both the Poly Group and Norinco, China's two largest arms manufacturers, produce that model.
U.N. Program of Action on Small Arms and Lights Weapons
The 6-year-old U.N. Program of Action outlines the destructive toll of small arms in conflicts worldwide and suggests steps nations can take to stem illicit small-arms trade. No international guidelines existed until the program was created in 2001, and it represents the only international consensus on small arms to date.
Toward a Small-Arms Treaty
The International Action Network on Small Arms details steps taken by the U.N. General Assembly in October 2006 regarding small-arms resolutions, including grounds for moving forward to establish a historic arms trade treaty. China abstained from voting, while the United States was the only country to vote against the resolution.
Amnesty International USA: Democratic Republic of Congo: Arming the East
This extensive report outlines the international flow of arms into the DRC despite the 2003 United Nations arms embargo. The human rights group reports that supplies of small arms can be traced to countries in Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, Bosnia and Albania, and from China, among other sources. Many of the weapons find their way into the hands of warring militia groups in eastern Congo, where 4 million people have died in conflict since 1998.
Amnesty International China Report
This 2006 Amnesty International report condemns China for selling arms to countries with abominable human rights records. It is the first nongovernmental report to shed light on China's opaque arms trade, and cites specific examples of Chinese guns found in the Ituri region of Congo.
Small-Arms Toll in Congo and Beyond
This September 2006 chart in The New York Times illustrates the toll of small arms in Congo and provides a panorama of the small-arms market worldwide.
The U.N. Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo
The largest and most expensive U.N. peacekeeping operation to date, Mission des Nations Unies en Republique Democratique du Congo (MONUC) provides information on DRC and daily updates about the volatile situation in eastern Congo.
From Our Files
Congo: Hope on the Ballot
In July 2006, Congo went to the polls in the country's first democratic vote in more than 40 years. Reporter George Lerner travels to Congo to find out how people are reaching beyond a legacy of violence and what these historic elections represent.
Voting in the Heart of Darkness
In this FRONTLINE/World dispatch correspondent Suzanne Marmion writes about riding along with U.N. peacekeepers during the Congo's elections in the summer of 2006.
Interview with Johan Peleman
Longtime FRONTLINE/World viewers may recognize that the U.N. weapons expert, Johan Peleman, who tells reporter Benjamin Pauker that AK-47 rifles are China's "business cards" in Africa is the same investigator featured in our very first broadcast story, "Gunrunners." Back then, he was investigating the origin of weapons smuggled into Sierra Leone during the civil war there.
Gallery of International Arms Dealers
As part of FRONTLINE/World's 2002 story on gunrunners in Sierra Leone, Lowell Bergman reveals some of the key figures in the international small arms trade.
-- Caitlin McNally and Matthew Vree