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8 Jun 2020


Zambia: Three Chinese workers murdered as tensions rise for alleged racist Covid-19 prevention measures by Chinese businessmen

"Three Chinese nationals were murdered and burned in Zambia, in a week when racial tensions were running high"

...The gruesome murder of 52-year-old Cao Guifang, the wife of the textile warehouse owner -- who was in their home province of Jiangsu, in eastern China, when the attack happened -- and her two male employees, Bao Junbin, 58, and Fan Minjie, 33, came at the end of a week when anti-Chinese sentiment in the Zambian capital was nearing boiling point. In the days leading up to the murder, Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa had accused Chinese bosses in the capital of "slavery reloaded," used the derogatory term "Chinaman," and, stoking racial divides, reminded the public in a video posted on his Facebook account that "black Zambians did not originate coronavirus. It originated in China."...

As the pandemic took its toll on Zambia's economy, reports began to emerge that some Chinese businesses were defying the lockdown measures, either by continuing to serve Chinese customers, or by quarantining Zambian workers inside their premises. Mayor Sampa began a campaign to expose such cases. On May 18, Sampa shut down a Chinese restaurant, which had reportedly denied Zambian patrons, for selling products labeled in Chinese and not English, as prescribed by the law. A few days later, he revoked the license of a Chinese barbershop for "discriminating against blacks."...

After those raids, Sampa posted video of himself bursting in on Chinese managers eating dinner at a truck assembly factory, where workers had allegedly been told to live on-site during the pandemic, and not return to their families, so they could keep working without risking getting infected in the community. "We found Zambian workers made to sleep in a small container (six people in one container) with mattresses put on the floor," Sampa wrote on Facebook...Another Zambian employee of the same company claimed that his Chinese boss threatened to beat him if he refused to stay. "We were being forced by our Chinese bosses and they threatened to beat you if you refuse. That is how some of us ran away -- right now, we just want the government to help us claim our unpaid salaries," he said.