The Herald (Harare)

14 December 2012

Zimbabwe: China Pledges to Uphold Zim Empowerment Laws

Zimbabweans have the right to benefit from their natural resources and Chinese investors must respect the country's indigenisation and economic empowerment regulations, Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Lin Lin has said.

Mr Lin was responding to questions from The Herald on China's position on the indigenisation programme during a press briefing yesterday.

"We understand the Zimbabwe Government's position on this issue. I think the people should benefit from their own resources and the Government has the legal right to pursue its own policies," said Mr Lin who was accredited to Zimbabwe in July this year.

"We have Chinese companies investing here some of which are state-owned and others are private companies. The advice from my office is that they have to follow Zimbabwean laws," he said.

Added Mr Lin: "I believe Chinese companies should not be an exception. Because they are here, they have to follow Zimbabwean laws and policies."

He said it was possible to balance the interests of the Zimbabwean Government and those of the Chinese investors.

Ambassador Lin's remarks on indigenisation come after President Mugabe told the Zanu-PF 13th Annual People's Conference in Gweru recently that Chinese companies should respect Zimbabwean laws.

Ambassador Lin encouraged Chinese investors operating in Zimbabwe to respect all the country's laws.

There have been complaints that some Chinese companies had a tendency of breaching labour laws willy-nilly.

"My Government and my embassy have always tried to enable Chinese companies to follow the Government of Zimbabwe's policies or local laws but as you will find everywhere even in China, there are some good and bad companies. There are always some of those trying to neglect those laws or trying to benefit themselves through the abuse of local people. My office will do more to enable the Chinese investors to know Zimbabwean laws and regulations," he said.

Ambassador Lin said Chinese investors and citizens must not be spared when they disobeyed the laws of Zimbabwe.

"If they commit crimes they should be punished. They should be brought to justice," he said.

Mr Lin said his office would not protect criminal elements whose operations were detrimental to the ever cordial China-Zimbabwe bilateral relations.

Harare and Beijing's relations date back to the liberation war when the Chinese provided Zimbabweans with both moral and material support.

Mr Lin also spoke on the allegations that China had turned Zimbabwe and Africa into a dumping ground of sub-standard goods.

"To stop such kind of phenomenon, I think both sides should make efforts. My Government is trying to take more measures to prevent export of sub-standard goods to African countries. Sometimes it is local importers who try to get those cheap products to sell at lower prices," he said.

Ambassador Lin said the Chinese market had goods of different quality and prices but stressed Beijing was taking action to combat the proliferation of sub-standard goods.

On the political situation in Zimbabwe, the Chinese envoy expressed optimism that the country would successfully hold harmonised elections next year.

"I have confidence in this country and its people. After working together in the inclusive Government for nearly four years, the parties have better understanding of each other and will put national interest before partisan interests.

"Even in the Constitution-making parties are trying to co-operate to reach a consensus. That is a good sign and I hope you will reach a compromise for the new Constitution and have referendum and elections can be carried out smoothly and peacefully," Mr Lin said.

He called for the removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West.

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