Opinion: US' brutal interference can't be allowed to disrupt China-Zimbabwe cooperation
Published: May 22, 2022 05:05 PM Updated: May 22, 2022 05:00 PM
File photo
File photo

The US government through its embassy in Zimbabwe is involved in a series of anti-government and anti-Chinese protests, including demonstrations scheduled for May 26, Zimbabwe media outlet The Herald reported on Wednesday. According to the report, the protests are expected to disrupt production at several targeted Chinese-run mines.

The Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe on Wednesday commented on its twitter account that "subverting host country [government] and attacking third country makes a foreign embassy sour. Depriving [Zimbabwe] of access to foreign investment and world's biggest market is most brutal and naked coercive diplomacy. This is an extended sanction."

The US is notorious for fomenting chaos and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries through various means for its own self-interests and ideological purposes, bringing devastation and even bloodshed to many countries and regions around the world.

Washington's attempt to incite anti-Chinese protests in Zimbabwe also reflects this vicious track record. By conspiring behind social turmoil, the US is essentially trying to deprive the African country of the chance to find a viable, sustainable path to economic and social development through win-win cooperation with China.

This is not the first time that local media outlets have reported that the US is playing a part in smearing Chinese investment in Zimbabwe, in a malicious attempt to incite anti-China sentiment in the country and sabotage China-Zimbabwe economic and trade cooperation.

But it has had little impact on economic cooperation between China and Zimbabwe, which has lasted for half a century.

China has been the largest source of foreign investment in Zimbabwe for many years. China's investment stock in Zimbabwe was around $2 billion, covering sectors such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction and services sectors. Chinese companies have created a large number of jobs and tax revenues for the host country.

Trade between Zimbabwe and China in 2021 hit a record high of $1.882 billion, recording a year-on-year growth of 34.7 percent. Top Zimbabwean goods exports to China are tobacco leaves, cotton, ferrochrome and copper, while electromechanical products, computer and communication technology, and textile products are the biggest Chinese exports to Zimbabwe. These numbers and facts show the mutually beneficial nature of China-Zimbabwe cooperation.

Although Zimbabwe has its advantages in pursuing industrialization, such as a young population and rich mineral resources, there is also no denying that the African country is still in the early stages of developing its own industrial economy. Without sustainable investment growth and continuous infrastructure improvements, its industrialization process could be interrupted as it has been in the past.

China has accumulated valuable experience in pursuing industrialization and has become a close partner of Zimbabwe in the latter's industrialization process. After years of cooperation with China, the government and people of Zimbabwe know better the benefits and importance of China-Zimbabwe cooperation to the local economy. The US has no rights to tell them how they should choose their own development path and with whom they can or cannot cooperate.

The US attempt to smear Chinese investment is out of its own geopolitical thinking. It surely does not have the best interests of Zimbabwe in its mind. The Zimbabwe society should see through this geopolitical gambit and avoid being carried away.

We believe mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Zimbabwe built on years of joint efforts and deep mutual trust won't be undermined by shameless geopolitical tricks pulled by the US. The most important task for the two countries is to cast aside the noise and baseless attacks from the US and focus on further deepening bilateral cooperation to deliver more benefits to the Zimbabwean people. The positive results will speak for themselves.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.