Project

China's Bloody Frontier in Zambia

The Chinese invest all over Africa, but at a Chinese-owned mine in Zambia, their relationship with Africans has reached a breaking point.

Chinese-run copper mines in Zambia are hazardous and owners violate the rights of their workers, according to a recent human rights report.

When local workers at Collum Coal Mine protested poor working conditions in 2010, their Chinese managers responded by opening fire with live rounds. Thirteen miners were wounded. Zambia never pressed charges against the managers.

In late 2012, protests at Collum continued, spurred by the fact that employees are paid less than the national minimum wage. This past fall, scores of rioting miners crushed a 50-year-old Chinese manager to death with a trolley. Two other Chinese managers were critically injured.

Zambia's current president, Michael Sata, won election in 2011 partly thanks to anti-Chinese sentiment, calling salaries at mines "slave wages" and threatening to deport Chinese investors ignoring Zambian labor laws. Still, Chinese companies have invested about $2 billion in Zambia, mainly in the mining and manufacturing sectors, and created thousands of local jobs.

This project will investigate the downward spiral of events between the Chinese and Zambians at Collum Mine, and what it may mean for the future of the relationship between China and Africa.

Updated on 06/18/13.

November 25, 2013|

Zambia's Resource Problem

Foreign investors are clamoring for Zambia's bounty of resources. But can Zambia's government — and its people — keep their rightful share?

September 18, 2013|

In Zambia, Weighing the Options

For Zambians, it's not a matter of simply loving or hating the huge amount of Chinese investment in their country. It's about finding, for better or worse, a way to work with the Chinese.

June 24, 2013|

Scenes in a Changing Zambia

Chinese immigrants in Zambia are enterprising and adventurous. They build, farm, and trade with Zambians and say they want to integrate into society—and, to a large extent, already have.

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December 02, 2013|

This Week: China's African Frontier

Veteran radio journalist and Pulitzer Center grantee Reese Erlich has a knack for getting himself into—and just as important, out of—hard places. Earlier this year, Reese reported from inside Iran.

June 20, 2013|

This Week: Mine Control

Chinese dollars and the Chinese themselves have been pouring into Africa, mining the continent’s abundant resources, opening businesses, building infrastructure and generally making everyone nervous.