In the midst of Zimbabwe’s crisis, China’s influence comes under scrutiny

The Washington Post
Date: November 16 at 1:28 PM 
By: Adam Taylor 

As Xi Jinping visited Zimbabwe during a tour of Africa in 2015, Robert Mugabe offered the

Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, greeted Xi Jinping as the Chinese president arrived in Harare in 2015. (Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese president a warm welcome and portrayed the two nations as deep allies. “China is Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend,” the Zimbabwean president told reporters.

Now, a little less than two years after that visit, the 93-year-old Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for nearly 40 years, is under house arrest in the capital as his own military patrols the streets and rumors circulate that Beijing may have given coup plotters its blessing.

Less than two weeks before political turmoil hit Harare, Zimbabwean army chief Constantino Chiwenga visited Beijing for a meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan. China’s Foreign Ministry has said the Nov. 5 meeting was a “normal military exchange as agreed by the two countries,” but there is speculation that Chiwenga, now a leading figure in the suspected coup, was seeking China’s support for a move against Mugabe.  [FULL  STORY]