Denouncing Aisha Huang’s deportation: Should Ghana have taken a cue from U.S?

BY JOSEPHINE KUUBAIBONG - May 02, 2019 at 9:42am 100

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Since 2012, discerning Ghanaians have been condemning and vehemently execrating the illegal Chinese and other foreign miners unpardonable shenanigans for illegally mining our natural resources, and in the process destroying our lands and water bodies.

It is, therefore, not surprising that many Ghanaians have found a cause to ventilate their arousing disgust over the sudden abandonment of the court case involving the notorious illegal Chinese miner, Aisha Huang and the onward deportation to her home country, China.

Aisha Huang, an influential Chinese illegal miner, we were credibly told, became somewhat untouchable during the previous NDC administration.

This may explain how and why in the face of overwhelming evidence, the celebrated Queen of illegal mining, Aisha Huang, was arrested and released on several occasions during the Mahama’s administration.

The preferential treatment accorded Aisha Huang under the erstwhile NDC administration thus gave rise to speculations that some top officials within the government were having a special relationship with the enemy within.

Somehow, the Mahama administration did not have the commitment and willingness to investigate, prosecute and sentence the flamboyant illegal miner, Aisha Huang, who was openly stealing our natural resources and destroying the environment in the process.

Credible sources have it that the erstwhile NDC government nabbed and deported over 5,000 illegal Chinese miners, including suspected murderers, and, inexplicably left the beloved Aisha Huang off the hook. How bizarre?

It was against such backdrop that some of us were extremely ecstatic when the NPP government took on the hardened Chinese illegal miner, Aisha Huang.

Please, do not accuse me of sensationalising the problem confronting Ghanaians. For, we are probably dealing with criminals who have been released from prison in China, and have made their way to a “paradise” called Ghana.

“The Chinese never give up. They will never give up their pursuits. Whatever they pursue, they become experts and innovators in that field. They are never bogged down by failure. For them, failure simply means another shot to be successful,” said a social commentator.

“They wield guns and would fire at anyone who dares to confront them to stop mining”.

It is an undeniable fact that the illegal Chinese miners are being encouraged and assisted by some greedy and unpatriotic Ghanaians.

I have always maintained that per the illegal miners' stubbornness, I shudder to think it would take a massive leadership in order to curb the illegal mining activities.

That said, what we cannot do is to take a cue from the United States of America, who put in place punitive measures in their attempts to halt the Chinese illegal miners' invasion in the19th and 20th centuries.

In the mid-1800s, the Americans were confronted with a similar predicament -the invasion of the illegal Chinese miners.

So in their desperate attempts to halt the seemingly pernicious onslaughts by the incompliant illegal Chinese miners, the American authorities were forced to promulgate draconian immigration laws which targeted the illegal Chinese miners.

Large-scale Chinese immigration began in the mid-1800's due to the California Gold Rush. But despite the flood of Chinese immigrants during that time, their population began to fall drastically, because of laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and the highly imbalanced male to female ratio.

The story is told, that miners in the area often used violence to drive the Chinese out of various mines. While impatient gold-seekers would abandon prospective rivers, the Chinese would remain, painstakingly panning through the dust to find bits of gold.

It would appear that the Chinese have an eye for gold.

As time passed by, the resentment against the Chinese immigrants in America increased, and eventually, the laws such as Naturalization Act of 1870 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 came into force to restrict immigration of Chinese immigrants into the United States of America.

The Naturalization Act of 1870 restricted immigration into America to only "white persons and persons of African descent," meaning that all Chinese were placed in a different category, a category that placed them as ineligible for citizenship from that time till 1943.”

Of course, the stance taken by the American’s to circumscribe the influx of the illegal Chinese miners was extremely punitive. Nevertheless, to the Americans, the apparent harsh decision helped in their efforts to curb the illegal Chinese miners' invasion.

In any case, we may not be able to go the way of the Americans. However, we can still manage to thwart the activities of the recalcitrant Chinese illegal miners.

I have no doubt whatsoever that some Chinese immigrants secured authentic visas to enter Ghana, but I am not sure whether the Ghana Embassy in China did grant visas to all the Chinese immigrants to come and undertake mining in Ghana.

Whatever the case, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must endeavour to investigate the granting of visas by the Ghana Embassy in China, per the influx of illegal Chinese miners in Ghana.

It is, however, incumbent on the Ghana Immigration Service to put ‘tabs on the illegal Chinese who are bent on laying their hands on our natural resources illegally. This is indeed a serious issue and must, therefore, be treated with all the seriousness it deserves.

I must also venture to stress that our relations with China must not and cannot be the standing block in our efforts to bring the offending Chinese illegal miners to book.

The migrants must, however, remember that: ‘once they are in Rome, they must do what the Romans do’. In other words, they must be prepared to conform to the laws of the land at all times.

It is pretty obvious that the illegal miners are taking advantage of the absence of monitoring and enforcement of the existing laws and regulations. If that was not the case, how on earth could foreigners seize our countryside, steal our gold and destroy the environment?

We (Ghanaians) have enacted expedient laws, albeit the monitoring and enforcement are carried out with a stark perfunctory, or often non-existent.

In sum, we can thwart the activities of the illegal miners through a collaborative effort, involving the central government, the Ghana Embassy in China, Ghana Immigration Service, the Police Service, Ghana Minerals Commission, the National House of Chiefs and all discerning Ghanaians.

Let us come together to uphold and defend the good name of our beloved Ghana!

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