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Article

14 Oct 2021

Author:
Taurai Mangudhla, The Zimbabwe Independent

Zimbabwe: Chinese diplomats blame ‘big global forces’ over the outcry in the ‘exploitative’ nature of its investments

‘China sees third force in huge outcry over its Zim activities’ 9 October 2021

FOLLOWING months of a huge outcry over Chinese enterprises’ “exploitative” strategy in Zimbabwe’s mineral resources, Beijing’s diplomats in Harare spoke out this week, telling the Zimbabwe Independent that they see massive political muscle flexing by big global forces in all that is happening. Chinese businesses, facing tremendous pressure across African countries to review their attitude towards key issues like environmental protection and workers’ rights, have recently come under pressure in Zimbabwe, where they face resource plunder allegations. The ruling Zanu PF government, led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has strong ties with its “all-weather friend”, China.

…The Chinese are also in the final stages of constructing Zimbabwe’s new parliament on the outskirts of Harare, in addition to several multimillion-dollar projects such as the ongoing expansion of the Robert Mugabe International Airport. But in the past few months, there has been an outcry across Zimbabwe, as villagers come under pressure from Chinese investors pegging mining claims on sacred areas, lands reserved for human settlements and areas with delicate environments. Most of these investments have been earmarked for chrome mining ventures in places like Mavuradonha in Mashonaland Central, as well as in Mutoko, Domboshava, Murehwa and Hwange National Park. In one report, Chinese investors were quoted as saying Zimbabweans had no rights to the land that a firm was earmarking for mining. The remarks have courted the ire of Zimbabweans and human rights defenders, although in the central government, authorities have remained silent.

…It added that Chinese mining companies currently working in Zimbabwe were not backed by intergovernmental arrangements, but instead all privately-owned except Sinosteel, which is the controlling shareholder of Zimasco Consolidated Enterprises. It specialises in manufacturing high value-added products for Zimbabwe to export. The consulate said it is the consistent position of the Chinese government that all Chinese companies operating overseas abide by local laws, respect local cultural norms, and contribute to the local community as much as they can.