China Denies Interference in Zambian Election

Posted September 20th, 2011 at 6:50 am (UTC-5)
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Elections Tuesday in Zambia are being closely watched in China, which has a large stake in the outcome.

Beijing has rapidly growing trade and investments in Zambia, and last month made it the first African nation where the Bank of China offers services in the Chinese currency, the yuan.

But Zambia's China-friendly president, Rupiah Banda, faces a tough challenge from longtime rival Michael Sata, who until recently was highly critical of Beijing's influence.

Government critics suggest China may have had something to do with Mr. Banda's unusually well-financed campaign. But Chinese spokesman Hong Le rejected that idea as “groundless” at a foreign ministry briefing Tuesday.

He said China wants to see the elections go ahead smoothly and that China is ready to work together with Zambia regardless of the election's outcome.