Zambia arrested about dozens of Chinese people over the weekend alleging they practised illegal mining. The issue has now been highlighted and China has complained to Zambian authorities as strong evidence has not been provided.
Zambia says the 31 arrested Chinese nationals operated unlicensed smelting plants and they even employed minors apart from other things which are not allowed in the country without proper documentation.
Zambia is lately home to a growing Chinese community and China has invested in several sectors in the country heavily including copper mining.
The weekend arrests took place in the town of Chingola, about 400 km away from capital city Lusaka. It was a joint operation of police and immigration.
According to Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo, Zambia is working to end criminality in the country and investors from other countries need to work as per the national law.
Chinese Foreign Ministry’s director-general for African affairs, Lin Songtian, said evidence has not been given to them and a pregnant woman too has been arrested along with two others who are suffering from malaria.
Relationships between the two countries have not been smooth over past few years. Two managers of Chinese nationals were accused in 2010 to have attempted murder. Both tried firing minors over pay dispute. However, later the charges against the managers were dropped.
In 2012 Zambian workers of a coal mine killed a Chinese manager.