China’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun has defended Chinese businesses operating in the country, saying they are operating in compliance with Zimbabwe’s laws.
This follows allegations that Chinese companies are violating workers’ rights and tax and environmental laws.
Speaking to journalists on Thursday, Guo said the Chinese embassy in Zimbabwe is not mandated to police Chinese-owned businesses operating in the country. He said:
I cannot acknowledge your assertions since all the businesses in Zimbabwe are being operated in line with Zimbabwean law.
The Chinese Embassy is not a law-enforcement agency. We suggest the media interview the Zimbabwean authorities to get true and comprehensive information.
All businesses, including those from China, must comply with the laws and regulations in the host country. Wrongdoers must be held accountable.
A Chinese national shot and injured a worker last year in Midlands after he asked for his unpaid wages.
In Mashonaland Central and Midlands, Chinese companies are accused of mining for granite and chrome respectively and leaving the land degraded.
Guo asserted that Chinese companies have been investing in Zimbabwe for years and creating thousands of jobs in the process. He said:
They have created thousands of local jobs, increased the country’s tax revenues and forex inflows, upskilled local workers, and generated business opportunities for local companies.
We support Zimbabwe in strengthening its regulatory framework and law enforcement. We call for a compliance monitoring team composed of government officials, local councillors, and community representatives to be set up in foreign-invested companies.
If anyone finds the possible wrongdoings of Chinese companies in Zimbabwe, he or she is welcome to file official complaints to the relevant Zimbabwean authorities, but we suggest such complaints consist of necessary basic elements such as who, when, what and where.
Last month, the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe threatened to take unspecified “strong countermeasures” against a local weekly publication, The Standard following the publication of a series of reports exposing unlawful activities by Chinese mining companies operating in Zimbabwe.