Chinese Embassy condemns murder of three Chinese in Zambia as ‘appalling and vicious’

By Liu Caiyu, Li Qiao and Zhao Juecheng Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/25 20:48:40

Photo: Website of Chinese Ambassador to Zambia

The Chinese Ambassador to Zambia made solemn representations to the Zambian foreign ministry on Monday after three Chinese nationals were murdered in the capital Lusaka.

The three Chinese nationals from East China's Jiangsu Province were murdered by three local Zambians who then set fire to the warehouse of a Chinese clothing company on Sunday, outraging the Chinese community in the African country, local sources revealed to the Global Times. 

In a statement on its website, the Embassy condemned the "appalling and vicious act of violence." 

Ambassador Li Jie demanded the Zambian authority solve the case immediately. 

According to a preliminary investigation by Zambian police, the suspects, two men and one woman, entered the warehouse and killed the victims before committing robbery, and then set a fire to destroy evidence. 

Police have arrested two men on suspicion of murder and are searching for another fugitive, the Embassy said. 

Chinese residents of Zambia reached by the Global Times on Monday said that the murders were committed by three Zambians pretending to be customers coming to buy goods at the warehouse of a Chinese clothing company.

The information was also confirmed by the foreign affairs department in Nantong, Jiangsu Province, who said that the warehouse in Lusaka was owned by Lu Yutong, a Chinese national from the city of Nantong. 

Lu was in China when the incident took place and according to local sources, one of the victims was his wife. The other two were employees. The Chinese Embassy in Zambia and the Nantong foreign affairs department were trying to contact family members of the victims and assist them with visa applications to Zambia. 

In a statement on its website, the Embassy said it urged the Zambian authority to punish the suspects in accordance with laws and take effective measures to protect the lives and security of Chinese living in Zambia. 

Some Chinese living in the country expressed concern over their own safety. Some locals have misunderstood epidemic measures adopted by some Chinese companies, they said. 

Some reports by Western and local media and politicians have stigmatized China and are affecting Africans' ideas of China and Chinese people, Chinese nationals working in Zambia told the Global Times. 

Local Zambians have misunderstood why Chinese companies are prohibiting their employees from going outdoors during the epidemic: allegedly one of the reasons for the murders. Since the COVID-19 hit Zambia in March, most Chinese-owned businesses either have shut down or are working at home, a Chinese national surnamed Wu who run a barber shop in Lusaka told the Global Times.

Some imposed "closed-off management," the resident said, "but this is interpreted by locals as an invasion of freedom."

False Western reports have generated a bad impression of Chinese, Wang Xin, deputy head of the Overseas Chinese Association in Zambia, told the Global Times on Monday. Those who thought the novel coronavirus originated in China were staying away from Chinese and this had induced conflict between Chinese and local Zambians, Wang said.

Some Chinese living in Zambia also claimed that Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa has been playing a role in provoking conflicts between Chinese and local Zambians with his allegedly frequent comments against Chinese.  

During an inspection of a cement factory with a closed-off management system amid the epidemic, Sampa accused the Chinese management of being "slavery reloaded" and posted the comment "Black Zambians did not originate Coronavirus. It originated in China," he said on his Facebook page. He also publicly used derogatory words such as "Chinaman."

In November 2017, one Chinese national was killed in an armed robbery at a Chinese company in the Ndola industrial plant.

In October 2015, a Chinese company in Kitwe, Zambia's second largest city, was robbed, during which three were killed and three injured. 

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