President Nana Akufo-Addo has said the Chinese government is fully backing his administration’s uncompromising stance towards illegal mining.
Speaking at a meeting with the Ghanaian community in China as part of his visit to that country, President Akufo-Addo said he had been able to hold frank discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the matter.
“He [Xi Jinping] himself was the first to recognize that Ghanaian laws have every right to deal with people who are involved in illegal activities.”
“I was very happy about the manner in which he [Xi Jinping] responded and the assurance that he gave that those of his compatriots who were engaged in this illegal mining activities will not find any support in this government.”
Chinese nationals are known to be one of the main culprits in illegal mining in Ghana.
Scores of them have been arrested in the last 18 months after the government launched a significantly more intense campaign against illegal mining than in previous years.
Despite scores of Chinese being arrested for illegal mining, President Akufo-Addo assured that Chinese nationals were not being stereotyped.
“We are not acting against Chinese. There is no anti-Chinese policy in Ghana. But we do have a quarrel with those who will get involved in this illegal mining.”
Tensions over reportage
In April 2017, the Chinese mission in Ghana expressed its displeasure with the way Ghana was dealing with the issue of illegal mining.
It also criticized the media for targeting China in their reportage on the matter.
The mission in a letter addressed to John Peter Amewu, Ghana’s Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, said if nothing changes about the nature of campaigns against illegal mining in the country, bilateral relations between Ghana and China would be affected.
“There are a number of distorted or biased reports and stories on Chinese people, especially some reports and cartoons that are defaming Chinese leaders and senior officials. The Chinese side is very concerned about this unhealthy tendency. We hope that the Ghanaian government will pay due attention to this situation, take the necessary action to stop such things from happening again and guide the media to give an objective coverage on the illegal mining issue so as to create a good environment for further development of our bilateral exchanges and cooperation,” the letter said.