Chinese gold miners abused and raped Ghanaians, says online report

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 June, 2013, 11:53am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 June, 2013, 4:05pm

Chinese gold miners arrested this week in a raid in Ghana have been accused of raping and abusing locals.

A first-person account making the allegations emerged on China’s social media on Thursday after some web users speculated that Ghana police had mistreated the miners amid a crackdown.

It follows state media reports that 124 Chinese gold prospectors suspected of illegal mining in the west African country were detained by local police. A majority of the workers are from Shanglin, Guangxi province.

The Chinese embassy in Ghana said no Chinese citizens detained were injured, but confusion and anger intensified among the Chinese online community after rumours claimed that Chinese-owned factories were burned down and several Chinese workers were killed during the raid.

Many say the diary - headlined “Insults and discrimination towards the locals are spreading like a plague [in Ghana]” - has offered a rare glimpse into the feud between Chinese workers and locals.

“I wouldn’t be surprised If one day, anti-Chinese incidents happen here in Ghana,” wrote the author at the beginning of his article. The writer, who has lived in Ghana and is not identified as a miner, wanted to stay anonymous, said a friend who spoke to the South China Morning Post.

The article accuses the thousands of Shanglin gold miners of abusing Ghanaian workers “on a daily basis”.

“[The locals] work the dirtiest and toughest jobs, but are fed the most terrible food - worse than what the Chinese feed their dogs,” it said.

The Chinese insulted the locals whenever they wanted and called them disrespectful nicknames, it said.

The diary also accused the Chinese of regularly raping and harassing local female workers. Out of fear they might lose their job, locals kept quiet and let the Chinese have their way, it said.

In one incident, a Ghanaian worker was shot by a Chinese worker for unknown reasons. After, the Chinese person allegedly said indifferently: “What a pity he wasn’t killed”, according to the diary.

“I asked [the Chinese] why they don’t treat locals like humans,” the author wrote, “but they never gave me a straight answer.”

Hu Jinghua, a Shenzhen engineer who posted the article on Weibo, told the Post that it was written months ago by his friend. Hu said the stories were based on his friend's experiences. 

The post was reposted more than 8,000 times on Weibo by noon on Thursday and seemed to have shocked many readers.

“If the accounts were true, then those people deserve to be jailed and persecuted,” said a microblogger.

“I am not surprised - judging by how the Chinese treat their own mine workers at home,” said another.

Another blogger who had lived in Ghana 12 years ago said he was shocked how things had changed since he left.

“When I lived there, we got along well with locals,” he said. “ We often drank and partied together.”

An estimated 50,000 gold diggers, known as “the Shanglin gang", work in Ghana’s gold mines, Africa's largest producer of the metal after South Africa. Many say they have been lured to the foreign land after hearing friends and relatives' outrageous stories of their success.

Ghana's government has accused the Chinese prospectors of working without permits and said their mining methods - often unregulated - polluted rivers and lakes.

Residents in Shanglin staged a protest outside their township government on Thursday, urging the Chinese government to protect Shanglin workers in Ghana, according to Weibo photos and accounts.

In one photo, they are seen holding a red banner that read: ”The Chinese embassy in Ghana did nothing."

The protest comes as other photos are being shared on Weibo, allegedly taken in Ghana, showing graphic images of Chinese people attacked and killed.