The People’s Republic of China has denied allegations that it was assisting Zimbabwe in exchange for natural resources like gold and diamonds.
This comes at the backdrop of growing criticism of China’s environmentally unfriendly mining practices across the Southern African country.
China is accused of extending loans and making generous donations to Zimbabwe to clear the path for Chinese companies to exploit the country’s natural resources.
Dozens of Chinese mining companies have set up operations across the country – digging for anything from coal, gold, chrome, diamonds through to palladium.
Speaking after donating 500 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine on Sunday, China’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun claimed “lately in Zimbabwe, some elements are once again hatching a smear campaign against Chinese investments in Zimbabwe.” Shaochun insisted, speaking at the Harare International Airport:
I would like to reiterate that China’s assistance to and cooperation with Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole is the most transparent.
There are no political strings or economic process tags attached. It’s never offered to Zimbabwe in exchange for natural resources or with natural resources as collateral.
Shauchun added that Western countries “cannot share the time-tested friendship between China and Zimbabwe,” accusing them of “watching from the sidelines with their arms folded, paying lip service, and maintaining their illegal, unilateral sanctions at such a life and death moment.”
China says it has donated over 1.25 billion vaccine doses to over 100 countries since the pandemic outbreak, as it chides western countries for hoarding vaccines to give their populations.
China is currently constructing Zimbabwe’s new parliament building, upgrading the coal-powered Hwange Power Station and expanding the Victoria Falls International Airport and Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.