The story about a Chinese mining boss allegedly being killed by striking workers in Zambia has been widely reported in major news outlets in China, including the Workers’ Daily and The Beijing News. These reports have caught Chinese netizens’ attention. Some compare the working conditions in Zambia to China, while others reflect upon China's policy of ‘development-aid diplomacy’ in Africa.
Exporting the exploitation model
On the Chinese micro-blogging platform Weibo, some netizens suggested that the riot occurred because Chinese bosses treat Zambian workers exactly the way they treat workers in China, with low wages and few labor protection standards [zh]:
Many were surprised after a People's Forum writer pointed out that the new Zambian minimum wage is higher than that in Beijing. The monthly minimum wages for average workers in Zambia is 1,132,400 Kshilings (around 220 US dollars), while in Beijing it is 1,260 Reminbi (around 200 US dollars). At the end of the article, the writer asks [zh]:
China has provided massive amounts of development aid and loans, along with expertise to African countries, in exchange for support in diplomatic relations. One of the most celebrated projects supported by China is the Tanzania-Zambia (TAZARA) Railway, built in the 1970s. But some netizens are doubtful about the effectiveness of the decade-long ‘development-aid diplomacy’ after the riot [zh]:
Yuaner1989 complained about Africa not being grateful for China’s assistance in building infrastructure [zh]:
There were also more reflective responses, which highlighted the exploitation and negligence of local needs by Chinese businesses [zh]: