Ever since Chinese nationals started flocking into Zimbabwe under the guise of all-weather friends during the time of the late former President Robert Mugabe, there has always been concern over their ill-treatment of locals.
Government often turned a blind eye to the many cases where Chinese employers abused their local employees. Quite clearly, government did not want to ruffle the feathers of its so-called friend, to whom it turned for succour after the West had shut its doors.
The most recent incident in which a Chinese national Zhang Xuelin shot his workers in Gweru should be condemned in the strongest terms. Such barbaric treatment of fellow human beings — especially by foreigners — is unacceptable and stern action must be taken.
Certainly, the Chinese cannot be allowed to continue behaving in such a manner which shows gross disrespect for their hosts. What would happen in China if their citizens are treated in the same manner by a foreigner? There would obviously be an uproar and stern action to accompany it.
It should not matter if these Chinese nationals are investors. That does not give them a licence or right to abuse locals. In fact, genuine investors do not treat employees like slaves but respect their rights. The law, therefore, should be applied to the letter.
The Chinese should appreciate their employees and treat them with respect. Suffice to say, matters of salaries and other benefits must be resolved through negotiations, not violence or abuse. This move seems to have been designed to instil fear in the employees so that they do not raise the issue again. But this is not how things are done. Certainly, they have gone too far.
In fact, this issue must be scaled up to the diplomatic level so that the Chinese government orients its citizens coming to invest in Zimbabwe on the need to respect the laws of the country and the rights of its citizens. It would be sad if diplomatic relations between the two countries were to sour over such matters. The fact that this Chinese entrepreneur decided to use a weapon to silence his employees over wages is not only uncalled for but shows the Chinese nationals’ disdain of their host.
It boggles the mind how the Chinese in Zimbabwe believe they can abuse their hosts to this extent simply because they are so called all weather friends. We believe China must never be allowed to bequeath us its bigots pretending to be investors. Recently, the world witnessed this kind of bigotry by Chinese in their homeland abusing black Africans. It was clear that they do not respect blacks. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime should stand up for its people.
The charade by the narrow-minded Chinese nationals across the nation pausing as Zimbabwe’s friends should just stop. We call upon the police to arrest the Chinese abusers. No amount of intervention should deter the law enforcement agents to bring them before the courts.
If the Chinese want to be treated in a friendly manner they should reciprocate and follow the law. But if government fails to protect the citizens then Zimbabweans will certainly rise against the Chinese nationals wherever they are in this country — after all most of the businesses they are operating should have been reserved for locals.
How much blood has to be shed in Zimbabwe before the Chinese are called to order? We call on Foreign minister Sibusiso Moyo to summon the Chinese envoy over this incident and many others in the past before we call on all Zimbabweans to defend themselves against the bigoted Chinese nationals ostensibly running enterprises across the country.
We condemn without equivocation the ill treatment of Zimbabweans by the Chinese in Zimbabwe. They are not demigods in our land –not at all!