17 August 2012

Kenya: China Slams Threats to Its Nationals

The Chinese government has strongly condemned the threats and intimidation being leveled on their nationals in Nairobi. Chinese ambassador to Kenya Liu Guangyuan said its embassy has always been committed to educating the Chinese companies and citizens in Kenya to operate their businesses within the law and live together in harmony with the local people.

In a statement, Guangyuan said anyone with "conscience" should condemn such an irresponsible and despicable behaviour targeting a specific group of people. He said the threats could stir up contradictions and hatred in the Kenyan society.

The statement has been precipitated by leaflets that were dropped outside shops owned by Chinese traders in the central business district, threatening them with dire consequences if they don't close up. The local traders, under an umbrella name Kenya Worldwide Importers & Traders Association are worried that unregulated entry of the Chinese traders in the small scale sector will kill their businesses.

However, this association which is headed by Ben Mutahi has denied involvement in the leaflets. The embassy however said they were impressed by a confirmation by the Kenyan police that they will guarantee the safety of the lives and properties of the Chinese companies and citizens in Kenya.

Companies from the giant East Asian economy have strengthened their foothold in Kenya since 2005, when President Mwai Kibaki made a state visit to China in support of his government's policy to look to the Far East instead of the West for development aid, trade and investment.There is, however, growing unease among local business owners. As Chinese companies consolidate their growth in key sectors, many locals are beginning to forecast dim prospects.

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