More trouble in Ghana for Chinese miners working the country’s small and usually illegal gold mines. Police are holding 124 Chinese after a series of raids on workers suspected of illegal working. The high price of gold has brought an influx of pick-and-shovel wielding Chinese to Ghana, even though foreigners are banned from small scale mining in the country, which is the continent’s second largest gold producer after South Africa.
Last October, a 16-year old Chinese boy was killed and more than 100 other Chinese arrested in a joint raid by police and immigration authorities on suspected illegal gold mining in the Ashanti region. Now as then, the incident is awkward for Beijing which is caught between assuring a domestic audience that it can look after the interests of its citizens abroad while reassuring skeptical African countries that the increasing legions of Chinese working in Africa will be good local citizens.
New word of trouble for Chinese in Africa reaches us, if somewhat belatedly, this time from Ghana. A 16-year old Chinese boy was killed and more than 100 other Chinese arrested in a joint raid by police and immigration authorities on a suspected illegal gold mining operationin the Ashanti region. The raid took place on October 11th.
Ghana’s position as Africa’s second largest gold producer after South Africa is often forgotten. A third of Ghana’s gold is produced by small-scale illegal mining. The high price of gold has brought an influx of pick-and-shovel wielding Chinese, even though foreigners are banned from small scale mining in the country.
This is only the latest example of friction between local populations and large numbers of individual Chinese arriving in Africa on the coat tails of China’s mining and construction companies undertaking large-scale infrastructure projects in the continent. In late August, Angola deported a gang of suspected Chinese gangsters, while earlier in the month, there were protests in Nairobi against Chinese arriving on tourist visas then setting up as street hawkers. Local protests against Chinese mining operations in Zambia have turned violent on more than one occasion, sometimes fatally.
The foreign ministry says Beijing has demand an investigation into the raid in Ghana, and that the perpetrators be punished.