Anti-Chinese sentiments are not just linked to China’s dealing of the coronavirus pandemic. In Zambia, located in the southern part of Africa, the recent murders of three Chinese nationals—a textile warehouse owner and her two employees—in the capital city of Lusaka is testimony to the rising anti-China feelings even on the continent.
The reasons are mostly socio-economic in nature. China owns over 40 per cent of Zambia’s debt. According to the United Nations 2019 world population study, about 80,000 Chinese nationals are currently living in Zambia.
What is surprising is that despite China being one of the biggest investors in the country, battered with huge sovereign debt, there is growing tension between the two communities. The Chinese have invested heavily in infrastructure sectors including roads, airports projects besides hydropower stations. “China has always taken this path of economic dominance.
It wants to expand its own interests through financial assistance to countries which have been in the middle of debt traps,” an analyst who did not wish to be identified told IN. Many locals in the country also believe that China’s heightened interest in the country is driven largely by the huge copper reserves that the country has. Besides, the Belt & Road initiative of China, where huge investments have been made, is worrying many, as it is seen as a short cut to debt trap for borrowing countries.
Further, it would also allow China to control the global supply chains. After the International Monetary Fund rejected Zambia’s proposal for a further loan of $1.3 billion in 2018, the country turned to China for assistance while also trying to restructure loans from the existing Chinese companies.
The Chinese have also expanded their business network through the country’s economy touching almost every sector. The gruesome murders reflect the growing dissatisfaction among the locals against the Chinese. Despite China investing top dollars and giving out loans for infrastructure projects to Zambia and other African nations, things have been going awry for the dragon nation as Zambians complain of gross abuse of labor norms.
The Zambians have also been facing discrimination at the hands of the Chinese. The locals have complained that they have been barred from going back home as the fear of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic rises. "Afterall the world needs to understand that Black lives do matter, and that cannot be seen in isolated case," the analyst said.
Zambian people have also shown their discontent over their government’s decision to allow the Chinese to make inroads in every sphere of business. “Gradually the whole world is getting to understand what China is doing and what its intentions are. It is not just one or two countries which are complaining against the Asian giant,” Ashwani Mahajan, national co-convener, Swadeshi Jagran Manch said.