The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Society (ZELA) says, the shooting of two Zimbabwean labourers by a Chinese boss shows the “systematic and widespread” abuse that locals face in Chinese mining operations.
In a court affidavit, the Law enforcement said Zhang Xuen shot an employee 5 times and injured another at the mine he runs in Gweru province, in central Zimbabwe, during a row with workers over outstanding pay.
Mr Zhang is charged for attempted murder, said Paul Nyathi, Zimbabwe police spokesman.
The shoot-down occurred on Sunday morning, when miner Kenneth Tachiona confronted Mr Zhang after he apparently refused to pay his wages in US dollars, as agreed, according to the affidavit.
Mr Tachiona confronted Mr Zhang, who then drew his gun, shot the worker three times on his right thigh and twice on the left, according to the court affidavit.
The Police said Mr Zhang fired another shot at workers, and one of the bullets grazed the chin of a member of his staff. The wounded workers are being nursed at a private hospital.
Remarks by the Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe pic.twitter.com/cRk0Jc2J46
— Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe (@ChineseZimbabwe) June 22, 2020
The Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe described the shooting as an isolated incident and said it was in support of an open and transparent probe by local authorities.
“Overall, Chinese companies in Zimbabwe have operated their businesses in accordance with local laws and regulations, and made positive contributions to Zimbabwe’s economic and social development”, The Chinese Foreign Ministry told CNN. He added “We respect Zimbabwe’s handling of the case in accordance with law, but at the same time hope to see Zimbabwe protect the safety as well as legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals. There is a traditional friendship between the two countries and we believe both sides will be able to properly handle this case.”