THE Chinese community in Zambia is making strides within its means to reach out to the local community in an effort to weed out misunderstandings that have recently emerged.
In particular, the Zambia-Chinese Association (ZCA) Vice-President Wang Xin has been gracious enough in mobilising resources for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes.
The programmes include sponsoring children in various institutions in Zambia and China, provision of equipment and facilities in schools and other institutions.
Zambians on the other hand should reciprocate by demonstrating kindness and fairness in dealing with citizens from the vast Asian country.
On Tuesday, China Mall donated 85 desks to Race Course Primary School in Kitwe worth K40, 000, barely a month after residents looted some shops in Chimwemwe and Kawama Township.
Previously, many more programmes have been initiated by the Chinese community, particularly in Kitwe.
It is hoped, therefore, that the hostility will come to an end.
Perpetrators of such hostility must be reminded that most Zambia cross-border traders deal in goods that are manufactured in China.
They ought to know that Zambian entrepreneurs are thriving through retail and other forms of trade in items from China, which include clothing, building materials and machinery.
Hundreds of Zambian entrepreneurs flock to Beijing and other Chinese cities to get items for resale back home.
They are not ill-treated nor do they face any xenophobic attacks.
Yes, Zambians may not easily set up businesses in that country, but have been importing goods from China without any encumbrances.
For this and many other reasons, Zambians involved in xenophobia against the Chinese must cease hostility forthwith.
It does not make any sense at all.
China is a global economic powerhouse which has made a foothold on technology and industrial advancement.
This is the country which is able to withstand and stave off US trade wars.
It is worth noting that China has experienced uninterrupted trade surpluses since 1993 while in 2013, it surpassed the US as the world’s biggest trading nation.
Perpetrators of xenophobia also need to know that the adoption of China’s currency, the renminbi (RMB) or yuan, in cross-border transaction is increasing steadily and over time it will assume a global usage.
It makes no sense, therefore, that some people are harassing the very people we need in trade, skills transfer and technological advancement.
However, where excesses occur, Zambians have every right to remedy the situation but this must be done within the confines of the law.
Looting and destroying shops belonging to the Chinese is criminal.
As Kitwe District Commissioner Binwell Mpundu said during one meeting, we need to embrace the Chinese.
Zambians should treat the Chinese as equal partners in development as they are meticulous and skilled in the construction and other industries.
This country has seen unprecedented infrastructure development mostly undertaken by the Chinese; the work is simply superb!
The Chinese and Zambians must enhance knowledge on each other’s cultural practices so that both are able to appreciate certain behavioural patterns.
This can be achieved through cultural exchange programmes and local interactions.
There is absolutely no reason for hostility, let alone xenophobic attacks on the Chinese at the time Zambia has embarked on an ambitious development programme.
While the Zambia-China Association is trying hard to narrow the gap, Zambians must respond and also get to know the needs of the Asian community.
Most importantly, there must be mutual respect and adherence to the local statutes; Chinese must fully grasp labour and other laws.