China and Zimbabwe cement ties

Beijing extends $58m farm loan in exchange for tobacco supplies.

    Zimbabwe received 50 lorries and 424 tractors
     as part of a deal with China 

    "This is the thrust of assistance by the People's Republic of China to the Republic of Zimbabwe ... for us to sustain politically our sovereign right to be ourselves," Mugabe said at a ceremony attended by Jia Qinglin, a senior Communist Party official.

    Economic crisis

    Zimbabwe is struggling with a deepening economic crisis - inflation rate is more than 1,700 per cent and 80 per cent of people are unemployed - which critics blame on Mugabe's policies.

    Your Views

    "...If there was no South African support, Mr Mugabe would have disappeared long ago..."

    Baz, Vancouver, Canada

    Send us your views

    Joseph Made, Zimbabwe's minister of agricultural engineering and mechanisation, said the equpment had been purchased under a $58m loan from the Chinese government.

    "The total loan facility granted by the People's Republic of China is $58m. These items cost $25m as part of the first phase," he said.

    In return, Zimbabwe will deliver 110,000 tonnes of tobacco to China over two years, Made  said.

    The country has seen a drastic reduction in tobacco output in recent years, down from a peak of over 200 million kg in 2000, to about 55 million kg last year.

    The Chinese delegation also promised to build schools and hospitals in Zimbabwe as the two nations cemented their close ties.

    Mugabe started to forge stronger ties with countries like China, Malaysia, Indonesia and India when he adopted a "Look East" policy after Western criticism of his policies and human rights record.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


     How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    Ninety-nine years since Balfour's "promise", Palestinians insist that their rights in Palestine cannot be dismissed.

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    In the rundown Pedion Areos Park, older men walk slowly by young asylum seekers before agreeing on a price for sex.

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    The story of a most-wanted fugitive and billionaire.