Word reaches us somewhat belatedly of an anti-Chinese protest in Nairobi on Thursday. Hundreds of Kenyan traders took to the streets to draw attention to Chinese hawkers who they say enter the country on tourist visas but then sell anything from milk to electronics and knock-off mobile phones out of backpacks on the street. Local traders not only complain about being undercut by the visitors, but say the Chinese don’t pay any of the taxes they have to either.
The protestors presented a petition to the prime minister’s office demanding Chinese tourists found trading be expelled from the country. The Chinese embassy in Nairobi says that Chinese companies and citizens comply with Kenyan laws. That may be true of the dozens of large Chinese enterprises operating in Kenya, building, as they are across Africa, roads and other infrastructure, running farms and extracting oil and minerals. It is probably not true among the street stalls and open markets.