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General News of Tuesday, 11 April 2017


Clampdown on galamseyers: Another 4 Chinese arrested

Four Chinese nationals have been arrested in Akyem Topreman near Akwatia in the Denkyembour district for engaging in galamsey.

The Eastern Regional Police Command, which effected the arrest, retrieved a box of 155 BB cartridge ammunitions, a pump action gun, and a locally made single-barrelled gun.

The police also impounded five excavators and two Toyota Pickups.

Government and the Ghanaian media have waged a war against illegal mining in the country but the Chinese government has cautioned the Ghanaian media against dragging its name in the mud in its fight against galamsey.

But the head of the Legon Centre for Asian Studies, Dr Lloyd Amoah, has said the Chinese government, through its Ghana mission, cannot dictate to the media how to carry out its reportage on the current war launched by the Akufo-Addo government against illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) which has led to the arrest of some Chinese in the country.

The comment of Dr Amoah, who had most of his post-graduate education in China, comes a few days after a caricature depicting Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, together with Lands and Natural Resources Minister Peter Amewu with cups in hand, kneeling and begging China’s President Xi Jinping for aid while the Asian giant’s ambassador to Ghana, Sun Baohong, took a toast, appears to be what triggered China’s anger.

In a letter sent to Ghana’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Chinese government expressed concerns about “defamatory” reports by the local media against Chinese officials and their government.

"The Chinese side is very concerned about this unhealthy tendency,” the letter said, adding: “We hope the Ghanaian government will pay due attention to this situation, take necessary action to stop such things from happening,” the letter said.

"The Chinese government attaches great importance to the illegal mining issue. The position of the Chinese government on this issue is consistent and clear-cut. The Chinese is firmly opposed to the involvement of Chinese citizens in illegal mining in Ghana and supports the efforts taken by the Ghanaian government to tackle the illegal mining issue within the legal framework.

"We sincerely hope that the Ghanaian government shall take responsibility of guiding the media and requesting them not to publicise such defamatory reports or stories against Chinese leaders, officials and the Chinese government. This will help create a sound environment for our joint efforts to address this issue and the continuous development of our bilateral relations," the mission complained.

Dr Amoah, however, told Accra-based Joy FM on Monday, 10 April that: “… This matter has become pertinent in the media because it is a matter that Ghanaians are sensitive about and I think our Chinese friends should understand that.”

“We have a unique way regarding the way our media operate. We have an open press, we have made that choice and within that framework, our journalists have the right to handle matters the way they deem fit, to the extent that it doesn’t unnecessarily throw any bad light on anyone,” Dr Amoah added.

He also said China cannot dictate to Ghana how to go about solving the problem.

“…I don’t think it lies in the ambit of our Chinese friends to be saying 'don’t use force'. The primary responsibility in dealing with this key matter lies with Ghana’s policy makers and we have to frame the problems and the solution that should be applied,” he said, adding: “Of course their interest can come in but they come in as complimentary and secondary.”