Chinese President Hu Jintao faces a delicate task this week when he visits copper-rich Zambia, where anti-Chinese sentiment is riding high amid fears Beijing is moving to colonise the local economy. Zambian officials say Hu’s visit, which begins tomorrow, will spur trade and foreign investment.


Mining Minister Kalombo Mwansa said: “It’s important because China is investing heavily in our copper mines, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.”


But Zambia has also seen some of Africa’s most public expressions of unease over China’s power, with a riot at a Chinese-owned mine over pay and the opposition party alleging a sell-out.


“They are out to colonise Africa economically and also to get Africa’s solidarity at the United Nations,” said Guy Scott, the general secretary of the opposition Patriotic Front, which narrowly lost elections last year after running on an openly anti-China platform.
“Unfortunately, we cannot stop them and they will get what they want from Africa because they offer aid without conditions.”
Hu’s trip to Zambia dropped a planned stop in the Copperbelt region, apparently out of fears he might be targeted by protesting families of workers who died in a 2005 explosion at a Chinese-owned mine.


Zambian officials say overall the country is sure to profit from its relationship with China and are positioning the country to serve as a “base” for China’s regional economic strategy.


To smooth Chinese and other foreign investment, the town of Chambishi, 420km north of the capital Lusaka, will be “declared a free economic zone” in step with Hu’s visit, Zambian officials said.


Claims that more Chinese investment will create jobs and help modernise infrastructure ring hollow for some, including the Patriotic Front (PF). While the PF failed to unseat President Levy Mwanawasa or his ruling party in last year’s polls, it won considerable support around the country, due in part to its accusations that Chinese firms underpay and mistreat their Zambian wo

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Zambian Goverment should uphold Labour Laws

    Much as we appreciate the economic shift from the Western Superpowers to the East (China), i would want to urge my goverment to ensure that the Zambians are well renumerated and given priority in the mining industry.

    It is not long ago when Alice Simango, then Southern province Deputy Minister, wept, when she found how inhuman one of the Chinese coal mine was exploiting our locals. Believe you me, these are the conditions which prevail in the Chinese mines.

    If anyone was to visit the Chinese working in Zambia – Chililabombwe, these people have bundled 20 people in one house. Honestly, is this right? It will not be long before we hear of SARS breaking out in Chililabombwe and spread acrooss to the innocent Zambians living near these people.

    The benefits should therefore be targeted on to the local Zambians, who should not be exploited and left as destitutes once these investors are gone.

    So Zambians let us stop this broad daylight robbery of our resorces by these foreign investors who do not have us at hearty. We do not want even these cheap goods which are of no quality which are littering our Zambian market on the expense of the local manufacturer.

    Mutale – DR Congo

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