All-weather Friendship between China and Zimbabwe Beats the Slander
Statement by Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe
26 May 2016
On 18 May, Newsday published a letter to the editor entitled “Chinese Killing Zim Twice Over”. Fully of groundless slander with ulterior and malicious motive, the letter intends to attack the Zimbabwean government, undermine images of Chinese people and sabotage China-Zimbabwe friendship. To clear the air, there’s a need to present the true picture of China-Zimbabwe cooperation through facts and figures on the ground.
China and Zimbabwe are good friends, good partners and good brothers who have stood together through thick and thin. Our traditional friendship goes way back to the days of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle in the 1960s, when China provided moral and material support, training about 15,000 freedom fighters and 240 military officers for Zimbabwe. Since the independence of Zimbabwe, we have witnessed steady and smooth growth of China-Zimbabwe relations with fruitful achievements in practical cooperation across the board. President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and President Xi Jinping exchanged visits in such a short period of time which highlights the special importance of China-Zimbabwe relationship.
Today, China is the fourth largest trading partner and the largest source of investment of Zimbabwe. The total trade between us in 2015 totaled US$1.308 billion, with the export from Zimbabwe to China standing at US$762 million and import US$546 million. Zimbabwe has been running a trade surplus against China for many years. Zimbabwe also attracted US$787 million FDI from China, way ahead of many other African countries. It is worth mentioning that over 70 percent of China’s imports from Zimbabwe are made up of tobacco, cotton and other agricultural produce, while mineral products account for merely around 10 percent. The false statement that “China loots the natural resources of Zimbabwe” doesn’t hold water at all. Besides, many infrastructure projects in Zimbabwe, such as expansion projects of Victoria Falls Airport, Kariba South Hydro Power Station and Hwange Thermal Power Station, are funded by preferential loans from China. With the development and completion of these projects, we are convinced that Zimbabwe will move beyond constrains of energy and infrastructure and embrace economic rejuvenation at an early date.
China is still a developing country, with about 100 million people living below the poverty line. In spite of its limited capacity, China has managed to provide a large amount of selfless assistance to Zimbabwe for many years. To name a few, China has donated Zimbabwe National Sports Stadium, Amai Mugabe Junior School, Mahusekwa Hospital, Sino-Zimbabwe Friendship Primary School, HPC center in the University of Zimbabwe, etc. China has pledged to donate a new parliament building and a pharmaceutical warehouse for Zimbabwe.
In recent years, the Chinese government has been providing over 100 scholarships and hundreds of training opportunities for Zimbabweans every year to train the talents that Zimbabwe direly needs for national development. Chinese agricultural experts and medical team members have been serving the Zimbabwean people with their professionalism. In recent years, China has provided five consignments of emergency food assistance for Zimbabwe, and will provide another US$24.6 million worth of rice aid this year to help Zimbabwe cope with the food shortage. More importantly, the fact that the above assistance has no political string attached at all shows that China is truly committed to growing its relations with Zimbabwe on an equal footing.
It is no exaggeration to say that China-Zimbabwe friendship has brought tangible benefits to our two peoples and strengthened the people-to-people friendship. In the development of Zimbabwe are embodied the painstaking efforts of so many Chinese people. Many Zimbabweans will warmly say hello by “NIHAO” in Chinese when seeing Chinese, showing that China-Zimbabwe friendship strikes deep roots in the hearts of Zimbabwean people.
A mere glance at the letter will expose the absurdity of the conclusion backed up by false arguments. I believe that anyone that has the basic knowledge about China-Zimbabwe relations or only common sense will not be deceived by it. Let me give some examples.
The letter alleged that China is practicing imperialism and looting away natural resources in Zimbabwe. As a matter of fact, President Mugabe countered this kind of argument at the opening ceremony of FOCAC summit in Johannesburg last December by applauding what China has done over the years,“Here is a man representing a country once called poor, a country which was never our colonizer. He is doing to us what we expected those who colonized us yesterday to do.” These remarks stroke a chord with the African heads of state and government as well as leaders across society present and met with spontaneous and thunderous applause. The facts speak for themselves. It is plain for everyone to see that China-Zimbabwe cooperation is equal-footed and mutually beneficial, and what China has done is anything but imperialism.
The letter criticized China for supporting the Zimbabwean government. The truth is, the Zanu-PF-led government is elected by the Zimbabwean people and recognized by countries across Africa and the world. The fact that the Chinese government conducts friendly exchanges and win-win cooperation with the Zimbabwean counterpart is beyond criticism, not to mention that there are so many tangible benefits for Zimbabwean people.
The letter claimed that the Chinese companies are salting away money from the country. However, facts on the ground prove the contrary. China is now the major source of investment for Zimbabwe, and the Chinese-invested enterprises’ tremendous contribution to Zimbabwean economy is widely recognized by people from all walks of life. Many Chinese enterprises and communities are committed to fulfilling their social responsibility by taking an active part in charity events, such as making donations, setting up scholarships and helping orphans. As for Jinan and Anjin mentioned in the article, the relevant company has held a press conference that cleared the air and refuted such distorted news reports.
To conclude, I wish to point out that as the second largest economy in the world, China is seen as a golden opportunity and one of the most important cooperation partners by countries all over the world, be it developed or developing ones. If anyone makes noises and says things xenophobic to play to the gallery, it will not only do harm to the country and bring calamities on the people, but also expose his own ignorance and myopia and lay himself open to ridicule.