Death of miner in Ghana triggers firm response from Beijing

The death of a Chinese gold miner in Ghana as well as the arrest of over 90 of his compatriots and colleagues has triggered a strong response from Beijing.

The Xinhua News Agency reports that the Chinese nationals were arrested by Ghanaian authorities during a crackdown on illegal gold mining by foreigners, and that one Chinese national was killed in the process.

China's embassy to the Ghanaian capital of Accra confirmed the death of a 16-year old Chinese national on Sunday.

The Chinese government has since requested that the West African nation punish the perpetrators and provide compensation for the victims, as well as protect the interests and safety of Chinese nationals and prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

Illegal gold mining by Chinese nationals in Ghana has recently become a source of conflict and tension, with local farming communities concerned about the environmental degradation caused by the miners' use of heavy machinery.

The activities of illegal Chinese miners in Ghana have reportedly led to armed clashes in recent months, while 38 Chinese nationals were deported from the country at the start of October for unlicensed gold mining.

The Globe and Mail reports that Richard Kofi Afenu, the sector policy and planning manager for Ghana's Mineral Commission, imputes responsibility for the deadly incident to trigger-happy action on the part of the illegal miners.

Most of these Chinese illegal miners are heavily armed and shoot at anyone that gets near them. In this case, they opened fire when police tried to arrest them. It is not as though police wanted to shoot them.