The People’s Republic of China has dismissed reports by the United States Government insinuating that Chinese nationals in Zimbabwe were applying forced labour practices on locals working for them.

In its 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report, the Donald Trump administration said some Chinese nationals were employing practices reflective of forced labour in the southern African country.

“We want to make it clear that this is a groundless accusation designed to taint China’s image and sabotage the good relations between China and Zimbabwe,” said the Chinese Embassy in Harare.

“The relevant department of the United States Government should focus more on protecting the human rights of its own citizens and resolving it’s own problems at home, particularly under the current tough circumstances and stop peddling falsehoods about other countries and their people.

The relevant exchanges between the people of China and Zimbabwe and the practical cooperation between the two countries are indestructible; it will not be affected by any smear,” the statement reads.

Beijing and Harare have diplomatic relations dating back to the epoch of dethroned Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe who embraced an apparently radical Look East Policy which resulted in the mushrooming of Chinese companies in the country.

Mugabe’s predecessor Emmerson Mnangagwa has also maintained the existing diplomatic relations between the two countries.

There was public outcry recently after a Chinese national shot two Zimbabwean employees in Gweru for asking for demanding payment of their salaries.