AFP – The mine had not yet opened, but Madagascans were already seething with rage and the Chinese management finally quit Soamahamanina, leaving behind empty tents and cigarette butts. For months, this small city in central Madagascar was engulfed by protests targeted at a Chinese gold mining company, Jiuxing.
Every Thursday, city residents would take to the streets in downtown Soamahamanina to demonstrate against Jiuxing, which had secured a 40-year gold mining licence on a 7,500-hectare (18,500-acre) piece of land.
For the protesters, the mining operation risked ruining their farms — one element of a nationwide aversion to the new wave of Chinese investors on the large Indian Ocean island.
Not just in Soamahamanina, but across the country Madagascans have openly expressed their hostility towards the growing presence of China, the country’s largest trading partner.
Anti-Chinese sentiment is on the rise in Africa as Beijing increases its business presence on the continent for natural resources while flooding the markets with Made in China goods. “Madagascar belongs to the Madagascans, not the Chinese or any other foreigners,” Fenohasina, a local student, told AFP.
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