China Denies Zimbabwe Has Surrendered Its Mineral Wealth As Collateral
China has denied that Zimbabwe surrendered its mineral wealth as collateral as both nations touted their “time-tested” and “strategic” friendship on Sunday.
In a move seen by critics as China’s way of deflecting growing criticism of their environmentally unfriendly mining practices across the country, China donated 500,000 doses of Sinopharm on Sunday. A Chinese top diplomat in Harare used the occasion to attack western countries for “paying lip service” to Covid-19 vaccine equity.
Chinese miners have been accused of displacing communities in Mutoko and Uzumba, as well as destroying wildlife sanctuaries in Hwange and Mavhuradonha. Many Zimbabweans believe this is the price President Emmerson Mnangagwa payed to keep China’s support on infrastructure development and tackling the pandemic flowing.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who also doubles up as health minister, received the latest vaccine consignment as he railed against "so many uninvited voices talking about the friendship between Zimbabwe and China, trying to destroy what has been achieved through the help from the Peoples’ Republic of China."
He vowed: "That misinformation, no matter how they scream or shout, is not going to destroy that comprehensive strategic partnership between the two peoples.
"That friendship will continue to grow day-by-day, month-by-month, year-by-year, decade-upon-decade and centuries-upon-centuries to come and nothing is going to disturb or destroy that friendship between our two countries."
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.
"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 also said that Western countries cannot share the time-tested friendship the same as between China and Zimbabwe since they are imposing their illegal, unilateral sanctions at such a life and death moment.
He also pledged that his contry will continue to stand firmly with Zimbabwe to protect life, promote development, defend sovereignty and take our comprehensive strategic partnership of co-operation to greater heights.
Many Zimbabweans claim that the reason why China is extending loans and making generous donations to Zimbabwe is 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, mining for anything from coal, gold, chrome, diamonds through to palladium.
Besides mining Zimbabwe, the Chinese are also 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.
China also claims it has donated over 1.25 billion vaccine doses to over 100 countries since the pandemic outbreak, and accused western countries of hoarding vaccines to give their populations.