Updated: 06/20/2014 04:08 | By Agence France-Presse

Chinese VP lauds better ties with African workers

Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao on Thursday said industrial unrest in Chinese-run mines in Zambia has been reduced because of the understanding of the different working cultures.


Chinese VP lauds better ties with African workers

Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao (L) gives a present to Zambia's President Michael Sata during a state visit on June 19, 2014 in Lusaka - by Joseph Mwenda

Speaking at a news conference on a trip to the copper-rich country, Li claimed Zambians and Chinese have come to understand each other.

In the last two years, industrial unrest has hit Chinese run mines in the country and a Chinese manager was killed during a riot over wages at a coal mine in southern province of Zambia.

Animosity towards Chinese workers is high across much of southern Africa, with locals arguing that Chinese-funded projects often spell decent employment only for Chinese workers and managers.

Li said there had been a reduction in tensions of late.

"This decrease in labour disputes shows that our relationship are improving. We now understand each other's cultures. Some Zambians now speak a bit of Chinese and I am happy to note that equally, some Chinese understand basics about Zambian languages," he said.

Li also said that even though China is still a developing nation, his country is ready to help most African countries to develop. 

"We want Zambia to develop and during our meeting with President (Michael) Sata this morning, we agreed with him that we shall be expanding the Levy Mwanawasa hospital in Lusaka. China is developing faster but we want Africa to develop as well," he said.

Li on Thursday held separate meetings with Sata, Zambia's independence hero Kenneth Kaunda and secretary general of the governing party Wynter Kabimba. He also visited a stadium being built by the Chinese in Lusaka slum of Matero.

On Friday, Li will visit a Chinese-run economic zone.

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