China breaks silence on treatment of SGR workers

China Friday broke its silence on media reports of mistreatment of Kenyan workers at the Standard Gauge Railways (SGR) by their Chinese counterparts

Speaking to the media in Nairobi, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Ms. Sun Baohong said that China will not intervene in judicial proceedings that will bring guilty Chinese nationals and companies working on Standard Gauge Railways (SGR) project to justice.

We educate Chinese nationals to do business within the legal framework of the country they are working for. There is no racism or neo-colonialism agenda within SGR project, said Baohong.

She mentioned cultural conflicts and language barrier as the main factors leading to misunderstanding among workers on SGR project.

Ms. Baohong however stated that efforts should be made by managers and workers to learn each other’s culture, language and change attitude towards each other so as to intermingle freely.

SGR is a Kenyan project that is designed to help build the Kenyan railway network, as well as improve infrastructure in the region which will boost the Kenyan economy markets to attract investors from different countries, said Baohong.

She noted that China will not only look forward to completing the one stretch of SGR but also help in constructing railway networks connecting the East Africa region.

Ms. Baohong hailed the China-Kenya cooperation, noting that more than 70,000 Chinese nationals have come into the country for investment, tourism and international contracts between the two nations since 2013, when the President of China Xi Jinping, visited Kenya.

We are sending Kenyan youths to China to study an undergraduate course in railways, that is, railway security, driving, engineering and railway management, who will be the future contractors and workers, revealed Baohong.

She said that SGR has been successful since its launch mid 2017 by offering transportation and cargo services for both businesspersons and ordinary Kenyans.

Also new hospitals, schools and roads are being constructed along the railway lines, and these new projects are increasing revenue to Kenya, she said.

Baohong dismissed some stories published about China trapping Kenya in debt saying that China’s relationship with Kenya is plainly for financing Kenyan projects such as the SGR, construction of roads, among others.

She further said that Kenya is in need of financial support as no country can develop on its own.

Zhan Guo Ce China Economics and Commercial Counselor said China has faithfully fulfilled its World Trade Organization (WTO) accession commitments.

Since China acceded to the WTO 2001, it has also made continuous efforts to improve its socialist market economy system, he said.

He further added that its multilateral trade rules in all areas honour its commitment on opening trade in goods and services and strengthen Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection.

Source: Kenya News Agency