two Zimbabwean workers shot by a Chinese boss

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two Zimbabwean workers shot by a Chinese boss

The shooting of two Zimbabwean workers by a Chinese boss shows the "systematic and widespread" abuses that people face in Chinese mining operations, says the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Society (ZELA).

In an affidavit from the court, police said Zhang Xuen had killed an employee five times and injured another in the mine he runs in central Zimbabwe's Gweru province in a dispute with workers above their pay.
Zhang has been charged with attempted murder, said Zimbabwe police spokesman Paul Nyathi.
according to local media reports , Zhang did not plead because there was no licensed interpreter in court. He will remain in detention until at least July 7, the report said.
The shooting took place Sunday morning when miner Kenneth Tachiona confronted Zhang after he refused to pay his wages in US dollars, as agreed, according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, Tachiona loaded Zhang, who then pulled out his gun, shooting the worker three times on the right thigh and twice on the left.
Police said Zhang fired another shot at the workers and that one of the bullets touched the chin of a staff member. Injured workers are treated in a private hospital.
A video that many claimed to be of the incident circulated on social media in Zimbabwe, provoking public anger and calls from a local watchdog for a reassessment of Chinese mining operations in the country.
The Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe described the shooting as an isolated incident and said it supported an open and transparent investigation by local authorities.
"Any possible illegal act and anyone who breaks the law should not be protected. China and Zimbabwe have a long-standing friendship and cooperation. We call on all parties concerned to preserve his jealousy and with care ”, the Chinese Embassy said in a statement on Twitter.
The Chinese foreign ministry told CNN, "Overall, Chinese businesses in Zimbabwe have operated their businesses in accordance with local laws and regulations and have made a positive contribution to Zimbabwe's economic and social development.
"We respect the handling of the case by Zimbabwe in accordance with the law, but at the same time hope that Zimbabwe protects the security and the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals. There is a traditional friendship between the two countries and we believe that both parties will make it able to handle this case properly. "

Dangerous conditions

China is Zimbabwe's largest foreign investor with significant interests in the country's extractive sector.
Last year, the Chinese company Tsignchan signed a $ 2 billion deal with the Zimbabwean Ministry of Mines to extract chromium, iron ore, nickel and coal, vital resources for China.
According to a 2016 report from the Brookings Institution, at at least 10000 Chinese are in Zimbabwe and many work in the country's mining, telecommunications and construction industries on a contract basis.
But their presence in the country has sometimes been controversial.
Both Chinese mines in the country and state mining operations are accused human rights violations and poor security measures for staff.
In February, a group of local miners in Matabeleland South province ask a labor court to protest their dismissal by their Chinese employer.
Workers in another Chinese mining operation in the province last April complained of being under - paid and work without protective clothing.
ZELA is currently investigating several cases of Chinese miners refusing to pay wages or provide protective clothing to their workers, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to its deputy director Shamiso Mutisi
“It has become a model and a system. We have cases where minors are mistreated, beaten and discriminated against by Chinese minors, "said Mutisi.
In a statement released on Wednesday, ZELA said residents of some Chinese mines often operate in "dangerous, harsh and life-threatening" conditions , while being poorly paid for their time.
The Sunday shooting is another reason for the government to rethink its political and economic commitments to China, the group said.
"In many parts of Africa, including Zimbabwe, Chinese investors in the mining sector have shown a history of poor safety, health, environment, labor and human rights standards", indicates the press release.
CNN has contacted the Chinese Foreign Ministry for comment.
24 bodies found in a flooded gold mine in Zimbabwe

24 bodies found in a flooded gold mine in Zimbabwe
The Chinese community in Gweru has distanced itself from the recent incident and has promised to pay the medical bills of the injured workers and support their families in dealing with the problem.
The Chinese community said in a statement that the incident did not reflect the behavior of its members, and they hired the company to compensate the workers.
"We sincerely hope that our friendship and cooperation between the two countries and two peoples will not be marred by this isolated incident, which does not reflect the behavior of all of us as a Chinese community," the statement said.
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