Beijing – The People's Republic of China has claimed that the West is treating Zimbabwe unfairly, as the US extends sanctions against the southern African country for yet another year, reports said on Thursday.
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Chinese director general of the department of African affairs Lin Songtian, believed that Zimbabwe was being given a "raw deal" by the West.
Songtian said this while speaking to African journalists on a 10-month study under the the China Africa Press Centre in Beijing.
Songtian claimed that Zimbabwe had been made a pariah state by western countries due to President Robert Mugabe's land reform programme at the start of the century.
"You see, before 2000, President Mugabe was loved by the West, but when he started redistributing land to the people, to them [US government] he became a dictator. Things started disappearing from the supermarket shelves and there was nothing. Now, Zimbabwe is on the recovery path, struggling, falling and rising up," Songtian was quoted saying.
He however, said that the East Asian nation was behind the people of Zimbabwe, as shown by President Xi Jinping visit to the country late last year where he signed mega deals in various sectors that included agriculture, energy and trade.
Songtian's remarks came as the US government extended sanctions on Zimbabwe, saying that the southern African nation was posing "an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign police of the United State", according to New Zimbabwe.
The US imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2000 after they accused Mugabe of trampling on human rights, rigging elections and repression of press freedom. Mugabe however, denies the accusations.The sanctions have led to devastating economic challenges, with the country reportedly now sitting with at least 85% of unemployment.