Chinese in S. Africa fear for safety amid rising murder cases

By GT staff reporters Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/25 20:08:28

People queue up for food and supplies provided by charity groups in Soweto, southwest of Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 5, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

Concerns have risen after recent criminal acts against Chinese nationals in South Africa have led to the killing of seven Chinese people in the past 50 days. The Chinese Embassy in South Africa has condemned the crimes, and urged the South African government to solve these cases as soon as possible and severely punish criminals involved. 

The embassy also alerted Chinese of the deteriorating security situation amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. 

Some Chinese in South Africa told the Global Times on Tuesday that the upsurge in murder cases has fueled safety concerns in the country, and they expressed the hope that the police could solve the cases soon.

Wang Wei, who has worked in a Chinese company in Johannesburg for five years, noted that he has been extremely careful when going out, especially after the murder of Zhong Zhiwei, the former president of the Township Association of East China's Shandong Province in South Africa, who, along with his wife, was shot dead in broad daylight in Johannesburg on August 13. 

"We are deeply shocked by and grieve the death of Zhong and his wife. It was the first time that we felt death so close to us," he told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

A local Chinese association organized a campaign, which includes Wang, calling on the South African government to find the couple's killers quickly and bring them to justice. "This is the least I can do," he said. 

The Chinese Embassy in South Africa also specifically mentioned Zhong's case in the statement it published on Monday, saying the embassy immediately contacted the local police to assist them in investigating the case, and lodged solemn representations with the South African government on the recent violent crimes against Chinese nationals, urging them to mobilize all forces and resources to solve the cases soon. 

The growing social instability in South Africa is a result of the worsening epidemic situation, which has slowed the country's economic development and spiked unemployment, said Zhu Yiyuan, Chairman of the African Chinese Woman Association and Consultant of the Consular Protection Affairs of the Chinese Consulate General in Johannesburg, told the Global Times.

She noted that the Chinese are easy targets as they usually bring cash with them, and tend to work from early morning to late at night, when crimes are more likely to happen. 

The embassy said that the South African police have given the highest priority to cases involving Chinese nationals, considering the close relations between the two countries and the contributions of the Chinese community to the development of South Africa over the years. 

Four of seven cases have already been solved, and 10 suspects have been arrested. 


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