Feature Article of Sunday, 13 January 2013
Columnist: Badu, K.
Following the publications of the earlier articles, (parts 1-5), a handful of commentators have been accusing me for what they (the commentators) perceive as a display of sheer impishness. And, they (the commentators) fret that I am aiming to jeopardise the Ghana-China relations,--far from it. For, indeed, I am only seeking to highlight a potential environmental catastrophe. So, hold your peace, and exercise the virtue of patience, my dearest cynics, because, I am not going to remit my fury in condemnation of the illegal mining by some Chinese immigrants.
Of course, Ghana has established strong links with China with the view to promote the socio-economic accretion. Nonetheless, the rights of the citizens cannot and must not be trampled upon, or compromised for that reason. Truth must be told, the communist China would not allow its citizens to engage in such infamous acts in China, let alone illegal immigrants from say Ghana. Needless to say, illegal immigrants cannot flout the laws in China, for, such offenders would be severely punished, regardless of China’s relationships with the offender’s countries of origin.
I am extremely puzzled to see our men and women who have pledged to uphold the integrity and the sovereignty of Ghana cheaply giving in to some fractious Chinese immigrants who are bent on illegally mining our natural resources and in the process destroying the environment. Why our leaders’ behaving like poodles? Were they elected to protect the sovereignty of Ghana or elected to protect relationships with our ‘allies?
I would like to go with the vast majority of Ghanaians who hold the view that Ghanaian leaders have become so corrupt and greedy that they don't care about the lives of their people and the future generation. Many discerning Ghanaians think our leaders’ are very weak, and moreover, are happy to sell their "birthright" to foreigners to "invade" our land. For if indeed, this is not a visible trace of inferiority complex, what is it then?
Indeed, some of the Chinese immigrants secured authentic visas to enter Ghana, but I am pretty sure Ghana Embassy in China did not grant visas to all the Chinese immigrants to undertake mining in Ghana. In any case, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must endeavour to investigate the granting of visas by the Ghana Embassy in China, per the influx of illegal Chinese miners in Ghana.
It is also incumbent upon the Ghana Immigration Service to put ‘tabs on the illegal Chinese who are bent on laying their hands on our natural resources illegally. This is indeed a serious issue, and must therefore be treated with all seriousness it deserves. Our relationship with China should not deter our authorities from bringing the offending Chinese immigrants to book. And, if we continue to give in to such crooks from China, because of the so-called good relations, it would then be deemed as a form of ‘dependency’—‘colonization’!
We have to put our feet down in our attempts to curb the illegal activities of the Chinese immigrants, and, also take a cue from the stringent measures which were taken by United States Of America in curbing the Chinese invasion in the19th and 20th centuries.
“Large-scale Chinese immigration began in the mid 1800's due to the California Gold Rush. Despite the flood of Chinese immigrants during that time, their population began to fall drastically, because of laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and the highly imbalanced male to female ratio.” “Miners in the area often used violence to drive the Chinese out of various mines. While impatient gold-seekers would abandon prospective rivers, the Chinese would remain, painstakingly panning through the dust to find bits of gold.” ’The Chinese have an eye for gold’.
“As time passed, the resentment against the Chinese immigrants in America increased, and eventually, laws such as Naturalization Act of 1870 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 restricted immigration of Chinese immigrants into the United States of America. The Naturalization Act of 1870 restricted immigration into America to only "white persons and persons of African descent," meaning that all Chinese were placed in a different category, a category that placed them as ineligible for citizenship from that time till 1943.”
“Also, this law was the first significant bar on free immigration in American history, making the Chinese the only culture to be prohibited to freely migrate to the United States for a time.” “Even before the act of 1870, Congress had passed a law forbidding American vessels to transport Chinese immigrants to the U.S. The reason behind the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was to prevent an excess of cheap labour. However, the act froze the population of the Chinese community leaving its already unproportional sex ratio highly imbalanced.”
“In 1860, the sex ratio of males to females was already 19:1. In 1890, the ratio widened to 27:1. For more than half a century, the Chinese lived in, essentially, a bachelor society where the old men always outnumbered the young. In order to sustain their population after the Chinese Exclusion Act, there was an immeasurable amount of illegal immigration. Plus, the Chinese had created an intricate system of immigration fraud known as "paper sons." Despite the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Chinese population in the United States continued to increase.”
“Although, after the population reached its peak in 1890 with 107,488 people, the Chinese population began its steady decline. These descending numbers reflected not only the severing effect of the legislation on the inflow of Chinese immigrants, but of the many returning back to China due to the highly imbalanced sex ratio”(Immigration : The Chinese).
Of course, the stance taken by the American’s to curb the influx of the Chinese immigrants can be deemed as extremely punitive. Nevertheless, to them, such stance was effective in curbing the ‘Chinese invasion’. we(Ghanaians) may not be able to go the way of the Americans, however, we can still manage to thwart the activities of the Chinese illegal miners . We can achieve this by collaborative effort, involving the central government ; the Ghana Embassy in China; Ghana Immigration Service; the Police Service ;Ghana Minerals Commission; National House of Chiefs and all discerning Ghanaians. Let us come together to uphold and defend the good name of Ghana!
K. Badu, UK.