A Chinese man, identified as an investor operating Benco Investment Ltd based in Thika town, Kenya, was arrested for directing raw sewage and industrial chemical waste into Chania river. In a video that surfaced on social media through popular activist Boniface Mwangi, the man is shown resisting arrest. He goes as far as grabbing the policeman's gun as seen in the video.
The video elicits strong response due to the fact that resisting arrests is not treated kindly but the Chinese man appears to have received preferential treatment as he was treated rather gently while Kenyans tend to be treated rather roughly by the police. Boniface brings out this sentiment in his social media post where he questions the police force.
The Kenyan police also have a habit of posting the mugshots of Kenyan suspects on social media despite a court order disavowing the practice. The mugshot of the Chinese man was suspiciously missing. Boniface questioned this as well.
Kenya is one of the African countries with a significant Chinese presence. Chinese investors in Kenya are involved in all manner of businesses, both big and small. They are mostly known for the government-contracted work of building the Thika Super Highway and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). Africa-China relations have often been called into question due to what is termed as the "debt trap", where a country, in this case, China, uses a tactic of diplomacy where it gives a lot of money in loans to African countries, loans which are beyond these African countries to pay.
Aside from being one of Africa's biggest loaners, China is a big trading partner to the African continent. In 2009, the country surpassed the United States to become Africa’s largest trading partner. This status partly plays into Chinese people getting some sort of preferential treatment in Africa. Some of it is outright racism.
Other instances questionable instances involving Chinese investors are: a Chinese man who called Kenyans monkey (he was later deported after it was discovered that his permit was not legitimate), a Chinese man chasing a Kenyan with a machete, the discovery of several brothels being run in Nairobi by Chinese people, and Chinese contractors harassing Kenyan workers on the SGR.
Header Image Credit: Daily Post