Zimbabwe wants a hero’s welcome for Chinese president

Zimbabwean state media said Chinese President Xi Jinping deserved a “hero’s welcome” when he jets into the country on a state visit on Tuesday.

Xi is stopping in Zimbabwe for 48 hours on his way to South Africa for the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation in South Africa this week.

“President Xi deserves a hero’s welcome by all Zimbabweans of goodwill,” said an editorial in the main state-run Herald daily.

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“[China] has made huge investment in infrastructure and energy development and agriculture against Western-inspired propaganda about Zimbabwe’s high risk factor,” the paper said.

Zimbabwean officials were viewing the visit as a vindication of President Robert Mugabe’s “Look East” policy undertaken after he alienated Western countries through rights abuses and alleged vote-rigging since 2000.

China was now Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner and investor and there were expectation’s Xi and his delegation might finalise “mega-deals” for which Mugabe reportedly signed memorandums of understanding (MOU) during a 2014 state visit to Beijing.