Xi Jinping’s expansionist Chinese empire is in big trouble, not because some governments have started pushing it back, but because people across different parts of the world have started resisting China’s unpardonable atrocities. Take the case of Zimbabwe for instance. China is alleged to have orchestrated a military coup in Zimbabwe in order to consolidate its influence in the African nation. Yet, China’s dreams to control Zimbabwe forever seem to have been shattered.
Make no mistake, Zimbabwe is a resource-rich nation. China wanted to loot Zimbabwe through a web of consistent loan defaults. With the instalment of an allegedly collusive military regime, Beijing also started exploiting the people of the African nation and the Zimbabwean labour class with sheer impunity. However, growing anti-Chinese sentiment in Zimbabwe seems to be getting the better of Beijing now.
As per ET, there have been several cases of rampant abuse of Zimbabwe’s local labourers by Chinese employers in the country. However, the Zimbabwean government has, by and large, remained a mute spectator. Matters have gone as far as local employees were shot dead by a Chinese employer after the labourers demanded their legitimate pending wages.
It is not uncommon for Chinese company owners in Zimbabwe to totally disregard the law of the land, infringe upon citizens’ legal rights and discriminate openly between on-site Chinese miners and local employees. In fact, Zimbabwean labourers are effectively treated as slaves. They are made to work at a meagre salary of US$ 35 per month in dangerous, inhuman and harsh conditions.
The residential facilities for Zimbabwean labourers too are inhumane. In a Chinese company’s accommodation, as many as 16 local labourers are stuffed in one room, regardless of the Wuhan virus outbreak. All this happens under the watch of the military regime in power in the African nation that came to power shortly after the Zimbabwean military chief’s sudden visit to Beijing.
However, the people of Zimbabwe aren’t ready to let China take control of their country. An organisation called the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) has been protesting against the Chinese assaults. Chinese diplomats did try to persuade ZCTU towards a friendly solution, but the Zimbabwean organisation simply refused to budge.
In fact, ZCTU has been warned of dire consequences for highlighting issues that affect Chinese interests in Zimbabwe. The rights organisation has brought some cases to the notice of the Zimbabwean government in which Chinese employers concealed the deaths of local employees in order to avoid paying compensation to their families.
In order to pile pressure on the Zimbabwean government and the Chinese employers, ZCTU is threatening of intensifying its activism to the international level regarding workers’ rights and dignity. It wants to strongarm the pro-China government in Zimbabwe into ending systematic abuses of local workers by the Chinese companies.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is witnessing a social media campaign against Chinese excesses. ZCTU Secretary General Japhet Mayo is the one who launched the social media campaign highlighting systematic abuses by Chinese interests in the country.
Resentment against China is growing within Zimbabwe and allegations against the Chinese employers are reportedly backed by shreds of evidence of torture and inhuman treatment. The issue is now being taken up by some courageous leaders in the African nation. A traditional leader in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland Central Province Chief Chiweshe has accused Chinese interests of looting vast mineral resources of the country like Chrome and gold.
Zimbabwe is also resisting China’s tendency to dump inferior and outdated technology to poorer countries. China’s biggest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China sanctioned a US$ 3 billion loan to finance a cold-fired power plant in the African nation. However, the project got halted after protests by environmentalist groups like Go Clean ICBC.
Environmental groups have exposed the climate risks and costs associated with the Chinese-funded coal power project and therefore the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has been compelled to carry out a feasibility study of the controversial project, which was slated to be constructed by China Gezhouba Group and the associated transmission lines were to be laid by Power Construction of China Ltd.
The people of Zimbabwe understand how the Chinese debt trap strategy works. They also see collusion between the military regime that has assumed power in Zimbabwe and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). While China was planning to rule Zimbabwe forever, it seems that stiff resistance by Zimbabweans will keep China at bay and shatter its expansive hopes.