A high-level delegation from the Overseas Chinese Affairs Committee (OCC) of the National People’s Congress of China is in Zimbabwe to hold seminars to encourage Chinese nationals to live harmoniously with locals in an effort to boost relations between the two countries.
This was said at Parliament by the leader of the Chinese delegation, Yu Linxiang, who is the chairperson of the OCC, during a meeting with the President of the Senate, Edna Madzongwe.
“Our delegation came to Zimbabwe at the invitation of the Chinese Embassy in Harare and we would like to meet the Chinese people in Zimbabwe and particularly learn how they live and how they deal with the Zimbabwean people,” said Linxiang.
“We will also hold seminars for the Chinese people living in Zimbabwe to encourage them to play a role in building the Zimbabwean economy.”
The visit by the high-level Chinese delegation comes in the wake of recent media reports that Chinese-led companies in Zimbabwe were inhumanely treating locals employed at their companies.
Last month, construction workers at the National Defence College employed by a Chinese contractor, Anhui Foreign Economy Construction Company, downed tools over a litany of complaints including physical assaults at work.
In a related incident last week, employees at Chinese Garden Restaurant in Milton Park exposed how their Chinese employer was ill-treating and underpaying them.
Patrick Mandaza, a cook at the restaurant, had to undergo X-ray examinations after he was allegedly assaulted by his Chinese employer.
In Chiadzwa where another Chinese firm, Anjin, is mining diamonds, complaints of ill-treatment of locals have also been raised, prompting the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions to intervene.
However, despite these reports, Yu said trade between the two countries was increasing and now stood at $550 million.
Madzongwe said China had been friendly to Zimbabwe since before independence through provision of weapons during the liberation struggle and moral support at international forums.
“This Parliament has been a beneficiary of donations from the Chinese government. We received quite a lot of equipment. We also appreciate the way you stood with us when Western countries wanted to impose sanctions on us,” she said.
Madzongwe said China and Russia vetoed the imposition of sanctions by the West, an indication that the country was an all- weather friend.