Despite the importance of China-Africa alliances based on “mutual prosperity,” China’s engagement with African countries is mired in deep-rooted racial prejudices leading to violation of human rights, injustice, and exploitation, reported a Canada-based think tank, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS).

The report said that China which has become the biggest trading partner for most of the African countries and provides funds for infrastructure projects like rail-road as well as the development of natural resources continues to engage in the exploitation of its employees and labourers in their own country.

The trade partnership between China and Africa has caused many adverse effects including debt traps, over-dependence, and violation of workers and human rights in several countries of Africa. The African workers in their own country are enslaved by their foreign employers.

The report suggests that there are significant cases of labour abuses that have taken place. Local workers are not provided with protective equipment in the mining and infrastructure sectors. When suffering from severe injuries, they are not provided with compensation or aid.

Most of the employees are working without an official contract and do not have proof of employment. This leaves them vulnerable to unfair termination.

In 2021, a Kenyan waiter was awarded more than USD 25,000 in damages after he was whipped by his Chinese restaurant owner. The abuse was captured on video and showed the boss laughing while the waiter begged for forgiveness. A Kenyan court found the man had also suffered “continuous sexual harassment, corporal punishment, verbal abuse, and confinement” while working at the restaurant, said the report by IFFRAS.

China’s exploitation is not limited to the exploitation of its workers, several cases of sexual abuse of local women have also been reported.

Over a dozen single women in Uganda are struggling to raise children after the Chinese ‘fathers’ abandoned them, said the report.

Citing such an example, the report said that a local employee of a Chinese construction company was fired after getting pregnant by a Chinese employee and being deemed unfit to continue work.

There is increasing outrage against the Chinese companies in Africa for maltreatment of local staff but investigations and inspections revealed that Chinese companies turn a blind eye toward such actions.

They have created a small kingdom in which they run roughshod over African workers.