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7 Mai 2022

Eric Olander, The China Africa Project,
Chinese embassy in Namibia 中国驻纳米比亚大使馆

Namibia: Chinese embassy releases advisory highlighting common consular protection cases with recommendations for Chinese companies involved in labour disputes

"Don’t Shoot Your Employees and Don’t Pay Bribes Are Among the Chinese Embassy in Namibia’s Recommendations on How Expatriates Should Behave Better" 4 May 2022

The Chinese embassy in Namibia really wants its overseas compatriots who live and work in the country to improve their behavior. And to help them, the embassy this week published on its WeChat page a rather illuminating list of eight examples of recent transgressions committed by Chinese nationals in Namibia and what they should have done instead.

This kind of communication between an embassy and its overseas nationals in Africa, in Chinese, is fascinating because it's so radically different from the defensive, often aggressive rhetoric that embassies convey when they communicate in English.

Among the list of no-nos: don't bribe the police, don't shoot local employees (really), don't illegally infringe on local copyrights and how Chinese companies should handle labor unrest.

Two Examples of the Chinese Embassy in Namibia's Advice:

  • PROBLEM - BRIBERY: Two workers for a Chinese state-owned construction company tried to pay off a police officer with $252 to look the other way for illegally transferring money overseas without the proper paperwork. The pair were immediately arrested and sentenced to two years in jail.

EMBASSY RECOMMENDATION: "Chinese citizens working and living abroad must solve problems legally and abandon the practice of spending money to buy a road." (摒弃花钱买路的错误思想).

  • PROBLEM - SHOOTING EMPLOYEES: On April 16, 2019, two Chinese shop owners got into a dispute with one of their local employees that turned violent. The employee apparent attacked one of the owners with a hammer and the other Chinese owner retaliated by shooting, and killing, the employee.

EMBASSY RECOMMENDATION: "If the parties responded with a gentler, more rational approach to this dispute, such as calling the police in a timely manner and subduing the troubled employee rather than using deadly force, their losses and the ensuing negative impact from this incident would be considerably smaller."