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China’s quest for natural resources could be good news for Africa. While the continent in terms of natural wealth the richest region in the world, it is also the poorest in terms of absolute poverty levels. China’s interest in Africa and what it has to offer might (with emphasis on ‘might’ as in ‘theoretically’) bring in more revenue, improve job creation, uplift infrastructure and therefore trigger much-needed development. The problem is that China does not seemed to be too fussed about proper labour and human rights or the environment. Over the past years various stories about Chinese managers abusing and maltreating their African staff have made headlines. The latest incident concerns two Chinese mine managers who – during a work dispute – opened fire on 11 Zambian mineworkers. That’s right: they shot them.
The incident took place last week in a coal mine in Zambia’s southern district of Sinazongwe, situated 300 kilometers of its capital, Lusaka. According to the authorities Xiao Li Shan and Wu Jiu Hua allegedly shot and wounded 11 miners after they locked horns because of – what a surprise – pay and working conditions. Chinese employers are not famous for paying well.
It is said that in this same mine, 22 miners were injured in June this year. Reason: poor safety measurements. As a result, the Zambian government shut down the mine for a few weeks.
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