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General News of Saturday, 8 April 2017


Chinese Mission cries over galamsey fight; demands fair reportage

The Chinese diplomatic mission in Ghana is angry with the new approach adopted by the West African country in the fight against illegal mining.

The mission is also unhappy with what they refer to as the biased media campaign targeted at the Chinese in Ghana.

In a letter sent to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources by officials of the Chinese mission, a copy of which was submitted to by the PRO of the Ministry, the Chinese said the new campaign against galamsey could derail bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The officials also pointed to a cartoon in the media which they say defamed their president and the Ambassador.

Their petition to the Ministry follows a relentless campaign by the Nana Akufo-Addo led government, civil society groups and the media against illegal mining which has destroyed Ghana's environment.

Media Coalition against Galamsey has been vociferous in fighting the menace. Considerable airtime, space has been given to discussing the issue with a move to solving the problem.

The government also made fighting galamsey a campaign issue and has made some commitment thus far.

Natural Resources Minister John Peter Amewu has already given a three week ultimatum for the illegal miners to vacate the lands.

Within the three week period he is embarking on an intense advocacy and engagement aimed at educating the miners about the harmful effects of galamsey.

After the three week deadline, the minister has promised to move in with a task force to get rid of all illegal miners and reclaim the land.

Even though the illegal mining is done by locals, it has emerged that Chinese nationals are also cashing in on the illegal business.

They say the campaign is targeted at the Chinese with lots of distorted and biased reports on Chinese people aimed at defaming Chinese leaders and senior officials.

"The Chinese side is very concerned about this unhealthy tendency. 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 the Chinese citizens in illegal mining Ghana and supports the efforts taken by the Ghanaian government to tackle the illegal mining issue within the legal framework."

The Chinese mission however considers the media campaign and efforts to fight galamsey a deviation from what they think should be the framework in fighting galamsey in Ghana.

"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 letter said.

In a discussion on Ghana Connect, Friday, the sector Minister John Peter Amewu said the government will not be blackmailed by any group and pledged an unwavering commitment against the galamsey phenomenon.