Times of Zambia, a state-owned newspaper in Zambia, published an article in Chinese on Tuesday October 2, sparking widespread controversy.
Civil society groups condemned the newspaper for publishing in Chinese which is not the main local language. They suspect that the Zambian government was using the tactic to win over Chinese sponsors, who have loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to the country in the past few years.
Laura Miti, leader of the Alliance for Community Action and a human rights activist, told Voice of America, “This is very sudden. If it were April 1, it might be considered an April Fool’s Day joke.”
She said, “I think this is a very real feeling. If we are not careful, one day we will wake up and find that we have become a province of China.”
Earlier, the Zambia Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services and Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya said on Twitter, “Times of Zambia is aiming to increase revenue by targeting the Chinese market. Today’s edition has a Chinese version of the top story. They want to tap into Chinese advertising.”
But many people expressed disappointment on social media, saying that the newspaper undermined Zambia’s sovereignty.
Source: Voice of America, October 2, 2018