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Joint Working Team of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Public Security Makes Representations to Ghana over Protection of Chinese Gold Miners' Safety and Legitimate Rights

On June 11, 2013, the joint working team of Chinese Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Public Security arrived in Ghana. Zhou Youbin, charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Ghana, and Qiu Xuejun, head of the joint working team, deputy director-general of the Consular Affairs Department and director of the Center for Consular Assistance and Protection of the Foreign Ministry, met with officials of the National Security and Immigration Departments of Ghana to discuss the issues concerning the Ghanaian government's action against illegal gold mining and the protection of legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizens in the country.

The working team noted that the Chinese government takes very seriously the issue of Chinese citizens doing gold mining in Ghana and once again sent the joint working team to communicate with the Ghanaian side, so as to take effective joint measures to resolve the problems. The Chinese side called for a civilized way of law enforcement and urged the Ghanaian side to stop the arrest and detention of Chinese nationals outside mining areas, to stop the robbery and looting targeted at the Chinese by some locals, to provide security and conveniences for those Chinese who try to leave Ghana, to protect properties of Chinese nationals such as production equipment and reduce their property loss, and to punish, according to law, those Ghanaian locals who broke Ghana's domestic laws and signed illegal gold-mining contracts with foreigners, so as to root out illegal gold mining activities.

Ghanaian officials pledged to work closely with the Chinese side and solve the problem properly. They will be strict on a civilized way of law enforcement, will stop the searching and arresting of Chinese nationals outside mining areas. They have taken effective measures to stop looting by some locals and would provide security and the necessary conveniences for Chinese nationals and try the best to stop their property loss. The Ghanaian government would assign an inter-ministry special working team to command and coordinate the joint law enforcement activities of various ministries and departments, and severely punish those locals and foreigners who are engaged in illegal mining, so as to eliminate the issue.

The joint working team also had discussions the same day with representatives of Chinese gold miners in Ghana. The team briefed the miners on the actions of Ghanaian government against illegal gold mining, telling them that the Chinese government takes very seriously the issue and sent the team, making representations to the Ghanaian side urging for proper handling of relevant issues and protection of the safety and legitimate rights of Chinese nationals in Ghana. But quite a number of Chinese nationals are now doing illegal gold mining in Ghana. It is in violation of Ghanaian laws. It works in an extensive way and causes comparatively serious pollution to local farm lands, water resources and the environment, arousing strong resentment from the Ghanaian government and people. The team urged Chinese nationals who work as illegal miners in Ghana to have a rational understanding of the current situation, be fully aware of the seriousness and harmfulness of the issue, stop their illegal activities in a timely manner, abide by local laws, and return to China or move to legitimate and lawful industries, so as to avoid loss or damage to their rights and interests.

The miners said that Chinese miners began to return to China from April this year and those who are still in Ghana also want to go back as early as possible. They hoped that the joint working team would urge the Ghanaian side to provide assistance and convenience and take measures to minimize their loss. The working team noted that they will work together with the Chinese Embassy in Ghana to protect Chinese nationals' rights and interests.

A working team sent by the Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region also arrived in Ghana in the afternoon of June 11. It will work with the joint working team and assist the Chinese Embassy in Ghana in helping Chinese nationals return to China.

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