In a court affidavit, police said Zhang Xuen shot an employee five times and wounded yet another at the mine that he runs in Gweru province, in central Zimbabwe, throughout a row with workers over outstanding pay.
Zhang has been charged with attempted murder, said Zimbabwe police spokesman Paul Nyathi.
The shooting happened on Sunday morning, when miner Kenneth Tachiona confronted Zhang after he allegedly refused to pay for his wages in US dollars, as agreed, in line with the affidavit.
Tachiona charged toward Zhang, who then drew his gun, shooting the worker 3 x on his right thigh and twice on the left, in line with the affidavit.
Police said Zhang fired yet another shot at workers, and something of the bullets grazed the chin of an employee. The wounded workers are increasingly being treated at a private hospital.
A video that many speculated to be of the incident has circulated on social media marketing in Zimbabwe, provoking public anger and calls from the local watchdog for a re-evaluation of Chinese mining operations in the united kingdom.
The Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe described the shooting as an isolated incident and said it had been in support of an open and transparent probe by local authorities.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry told CNN: “Overall, Chinese organizations in Zimbabwe have operated their companies in accordance with local laws and regulations, and made positive contributions to Zimbabwe’s economic and social development.
“We respect Zimbabwe’s handling of the case in accordance with law, but at exactly the same time hope to see Zimbabwe protect the safety as well as legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals. There is traditional friendship between the two countries and we believe both sides will be able to correctly handle this case.”
China is Zimbabwe’s largest foreign investor with significant interests in the country’s extractive sector.
But their presence in the united kingdom has sometimes been controversial.
Several cases of Chinese miners refusing to pay for salaries or provide their workers with protective clothing, especially through the Covid-19 pandemic, are currently being investigated by ZELA, based on its deputy director Shamiso Mutisi
“It has become a pattern and a method. We have cases where miners are abused, beaten, and discriminated against by Chinese miners,” Mutisi said.
Sunday’s shooting is another basis for the government to rethink its political and economic engagements with China, the group said.
“In many parts of Africa, including Zimbabwe, Chinese mining investors have exhibited a brief history of bad safety, health, environmental, labor, and human rights standards,” the statement said.
CNN has contacted China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.
The Chinese community in Gweru has distanced it self from the recent incident and promised to pay for injured workers’ medical bills and support their loved ones as they cope with the issue.
The Chinese community said in a statement the incident does not reflect the behavior of its members, plus they have engaged the company to pay the workers.
“We sincerely hope our friendship and cooperation between your two countries and two peoples won’t be sullied by this isolated incident, which does not reflect the behavior of us all as the Chinese community,” the statement read.