On Sina Weibo, user Hu Jinghua (@胡靖铧), an angel investor, posted a viral essay on Weibo shortly after the news broke. The
essay, which Hu claims was written months prior by a friend, accused Chinese miners in Ghana of carrying out acts of racial discrimination and sexual
harassment against the local population. The post accused the Chinese in Ghana of "talking every day about how to take food from the [Ghanaians]" and wrote
that "many [Chinese] will spend over ...1,700 RMB on a Fujianese prostitute in Kumasi [a city in Ghana] but aren't willing to give a few rotten peppers to a
[Ghanain]." It also asserted that the guard dogs at Chinese mines eat better than the Ghanain workers.
The post was shared and commented upon numerous times, with many questioning the accuracy of its detailed allegations, before it was deleted by censors. In
addition to its unfavorable portrayal of overseas Chinese, the post's religious overtones may have made authorities queasy -- it argued that "disciples of
Jesus treat the [Chinese] with an openness and benevolence that they cannot understand." (The essay can still be viewed at FreeWeibo.com, which captures deleted posts.)
The vast majority of the Chinese gold miners in Ghana come from the small county of Shanglin in Guangxi, a province approximately of the same
size as Ghana. Categorized as one of the impoverished counties receiving aid from the national government, the county is witnessing an unusual wave of
transformation; imported cars are often sighted on the streets, and new real estate construction has become common. The source of the wealth can be traced
back to the gold mines of Ghana. More residents in Shanglin are still considering joining the gold mining business in Ghana in spite of safety concerns,
lured by the tales of abundant wealth accumulated in a short period of time, while opportunities are lacking at home.
Despite the hopes for jobs and income in Ghana, gold miners from Shanglin face an array of risks on a daily basis. Chinese nationals are often the managers
and technical specialists of their mining operations, while employees hired locally in Ghana carry out most of the manual labor. Burglaries and mugging are
of common occurrence at the gold mines, and lives have been lost during armed robberies.
Additionally, regulations issued by the Ghanaian government do not favor Chinese gold mine investments. According to Toni Aubynn, CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, licenses to operate small-scale mines
are only issued to Ghanaian nationals, but foreigners can provide technical support and equipment. Therefore, Ghanaian-owned small-scale mining operations
seek Chinese funding and equipment. Many Chinese nationals have flooded into the gold mining industry seeking business opportunities without understanding
the licensing issues.