Chinese gov't in full support of anti-galamsey fight- Amewu

Chinese gov't in full support of anti-galamsey fight- Amewu
Source: Ghana||Nathan Gadugah
Date: 20-04-2017 Time: 07:04:03:pm

Lands and Natural Resources Minister is cautioning against the creation of a non-existent diplomatic row between Ghana and China in the wake of the anti-galamsey fight.

John Peter Amewu says relations between the two countries are cordial insisting, any Ghanaian having trade challenges with the Chinese government must not be quick to cite a diplomatic row.

Relations between the two countries was reported to be strained following the clampdown on Chinese who were said to be involved in illegal mining in Ghana.

The Ghana government, together with the media and civil society groups have begun a massive campaign to stop illegal mining popularly referred to as galamsey.

Over 20,000 people, some of whom are Chinese and other nationals are said to be involved in the illegal mining which has left Ghana's water bodies polluted the environment completely destroyed.

The country risks importing water from neighbouring countries in the coming years if the activities of galamsey miners are not stopped.

The fight against illegal mining has seen some Ghanaians and their Chinese counterparts arrested and currently facing prosecution.

Last week, officials of the Chinese mission were purported to have written a letter to the Lands and Natural Resources Minister complaining about the way the government and the media are handling the  galamsey fight.

The letter hinted of a possible diplomatic strain if steps are not taken by the Ghana government to streamline the anti-galamsey fight.

That letter stirred the hornet's nest with many  Ghanaians angry about the posturing of the Chinese government.

Few days later some Ghanaian traders begun complaining about how their goods have been withheld by the Chinese officials.

They do not understand why goods from other nationals will be allowed to be cleared but those from Ghana will be withheld.

Some of them were quick to conclude that the Chinese government was frustrating Ghanaian business men in retaliation to what some of its citizens may be going through in Ghana.

But reacting to the matter, Thursday, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister urged caution in drawing hasty conclusions.

He is confident the anti-galamsey fight has the full backing of the Chinese government.

"As a country let us begin to differentiate between Chinese nationals and the Chinese government. I am convinced that this exercise we are doing has the support of the Chinese government.

"I am saying this based on the meeting I had with them. What they said was that you can go up there and any Chinese misbehaves in terms of not abiding by the laws, you can go and pick that person up. These were the words of the Chinese ambassador.

"If a Chinese individual is misbehaving and we want to say it is the Chinese government, no. I want us to seperate the two things," he said.

In the same vein, he said if a Ghanaian is having troubles with trade issues, that person should not be quick to conclude it is as a result of a diplomatic rows between the two countries.