“Imperialism always operates for profit, not people – no matter who the imperialists may be.”
The mine has also had problems with government officials in the past. In 2010, then Southern Province Minister Elijah Muchima described the plight of the workers as sad, saying they were subject to slave wages and worked under hazardous conditions and explaining that the workers there earned between Zambian kwacha 57,000 and 500,000 (between US$ 15 and US$ 100) per month.
In 2006, another provincial minister, Alice Simango, openly wept after seeing miners during a tour of the mine emerge semi-naked and barefoot from the tunnel. Simango, who was blocked from entering the mine by the Chinese, later recommended that it be closed to protect human life.
The latest incident, which left a Chinese supervisor dead, elicited a lot of reactions from netizens on various social platforms, ranging from blaming the government for the abrupt manner in which it announced the minimum wage to blaming the Chinese for taking advantage of the workers.