Chinese companies targeting South African riots, experts say Beijing may be responsible

Chinese companies are being targeted as citizens continue to be anxious in South Africa. One Chinese observer believes that anti-Chinese sentiment can be fueled by the growing global influence and human rights abuses of the Chinese administration.

Violence broke out in the country after former President Jacob Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison last week for contempt of court for failing to attend a February hearing on allegations of corruption during his presidency. .. More than 70 people have been killed, which has been exacerbated in a few years. Shopping malls, stores and banks in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, where the riots broke out, were looted. South African troops have dispatched 2,500 soldiers to assist police, but the situation remains out of control.

On July 14, local time, the Chinese embassy in South Africa issued a second emergency safety alert in two days, calling on local Chinese citizens to pay attention to personal safety and take further precautionary measures.

A RFA The report quoted a local Chinese that the city of Durban was under martial law. But violence and looting are still happening. And the military and police have limited intervention, sources said.

On the other hand, many Chinese expatriates living in South Africa Chinese media About the riots they witnessed. They said many supermarkets, shops and factories in Durban were damaged. There was a long line outside some of the remaining open grocery stores. And there is a shortage of bread and milk.

South African Zuma Riot
On July 14, 2021, in the suburbs of Durban, South Africa, a factory is burning in the background while looting is removed and empty boxes are scattered in the foreground. (AP photo)

Sun Xianglu, who has worked in South Africa for many years, told Chinese media that Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal was also affected by the riots. The city has at least 100 Chinese textile factories.

Some netizens have posted on Chinese social media that many Chinese supermarkets in South Africa have been looted. They said the houses were burned down and commercial facilities and factories were damaged.

Chinese observers Asian According to the RFA, Chinese shops are often the first targets in African countries. Chinese sociologist Lu Hao Told RFA The looting and incineration of Chinese companies in South Africa shows that anti-Chinese sentiment is being triggered by the actions of the Chinese administration.

“There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the Chinese government has violated human rights for a long time. This has made a very bad impression on the world. The second reason is The Chinese government’s foreign aid and international investment projects often brought abuse and bad practices within China, such as infringement of workers’ rights, environmental damage and bribery, to other countries. “

Mr Lou said China has been accused of setting debt by investing heavily in the construction of large-scale projects in countries that have participated in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as “Belt and Road”). A trap that is causing controversy with the locals.

As of January 2021 40 countries Participated in China’s BRI from sub-Saharan Africa.And according to the Africa Report, African countries China’s largest debt Angola ($ 25 billion), Ethiopia ($ 13.5 billion), Zambia ($ 7.4 billion), Republic of the Congo ($ 7.3 billion), Sudan ($ 6.4 billion).

The mishandling and concealment of the first outbreak of COVID-19 by the Chinese administration is another source of resentment towards China and Chinese companies, Lu said.

As of July 16, there were 2,253,240 COVID cases, 65,972 people died In South Africa.

“Because of the Chinese administration, many countries have suffered very seriously during the pandemic,” Lou said.

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