Due care for miners

Updated: 2013-06-07 07:11

(China Daily)

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There is widespread concern back home about the situation of the 124 Chinese nationals detained by police in Ghana for suspected illegal gold mining, China's authorities should work with their Ghanaian counterparts for a proper settlement to the issue as soon as possible and seek a once-and-for-all solution to the alleged illegal gold mining by Chinese nationals in the West African country.

But before that, the Ghanaian authorities must provide due protection for the legal rights of the detained Chinese citizens and ensure they are treated in accordance with local and international laws and prevent mistreatment.

According to the Chinese Embassy in Ghana, the local authorities conducted raids in areas near illegal mines where Chinese live, including at a hotel in the central Ashanti region over the weekend, and by Wednesday they had detained 124 Chinese citizens. Messages posted online by some miners seeking assistance said that their mines were looted and that they were even shot at by people with AK47 guns while hiding from the searching police.

The arrests came as Ghana, Africa's second-largest gold producer, launched a crackdown on illegal mining. Ghanaian law prohibits foreigners from engaging in mines smaller than 25 acres. Local residents say illegal mining is a safety threat and it exacerbates land-related conflicts and causes water pollution.

There have been reports in recent years of Chinese workers being arrested by the Ghanaian authorities on suspicion of illegal gold mining, and in October, one Chinese national died during a raid on illegal gold mines in Ghana's Ashanti region.

The Chinese government has done a lot to assist and collaborate with African countries, honoring the commitments it has made to the friendly nations of Africa, toward which the entire nation holds fraternal feelings. However, unlawful conduct of some compatriots, such as the illegal mining in Ghana, is undermining these efforts. This certainly poses a challenge to China's "Africa strategy", and contravenes the government's efforts to expand friendly and win-win cooperation with African countries.

The detention of the 124 Chinese miners highlights the need for relevant law enforcement departments from both China and Ghana to work together on mining and related issues.

(China Daily USA 06/07/2013 page17)