Beijing Quietly Cools Relations with Mugabe – Alec Russell

In a sign that international criticism of China’s support for the ruthless regime of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe may have had an effect, Chinese diplomats are apparently less enthusiastic about relations between the two countries. But a cooling in ties may be due as much to economic concerns on both sides as politics:

In the past few years the Chinese ambassador in Harare is one of the few foreigners whose visits Mr can have welcomed. Since the Zimbabwean president launched his “Look East” policy in 2003, Beijing has refused to condemn his repressive policies and has provided much-needed loans to help prop up the crumbling economy…

But diplomats in Harare say that in private their Chinese counterparts confess to being increasingly concerned that their links to are damaging their image, and risk harming their investment prospects elsewhere. [Full text]

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