Africa: Striking Chinese workers sent home

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that more than 400 Chinese laborers have been flown home after a strike on a construction project in Mongomo, in Equatorial Guinea, left two people dead and four injured.It was believed to be the first case of Chinese workers being killed in a labour protest in Africa and appeared to be one of the most serious disputes to affect a Chinese project there.

Xinhua said a chartered flight with the workers arrived at Shanghai Pudong airport and then went on four buses bound for their homes in Weihai of Shandong Province and Lianyungang of Jiangsu Province.

Reuters reported that two Chinese labourers were killed in a clash with security forces during a strike at a Chinese construction project at Mongomo in the West African oil producing country in March.

It said the workers were killed and four were injured when the strikers, reported to number between 100 and 200, confronted Equatorial Guinean security forces who intervened when the protesters tried to stop other Chinese colleagues from working.

One senior government official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that Equatorial Guinea had asked China to withdraw the workers involved in the dispute.

China invests heavily in development projects in resource-rich African countries. Large oil and gas deposits were discovered in Equatorial Guinea in the mid-1990s and in 2004 the country was listed as the world’s fastest-growing economy, though it ranks near the bottom of a UN human development index.

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