A court in Rwanda sentenced a Chinese businessman to 20 years in prison for torturing at least two Rwandan miners. A video that appeared to reveal the Chinese businessman, Sun Shujun, 43, beating two Rwandan men who were chained to a tree was circulated on the internet in August. Rwandan authorities later delved into the content of the video and confirmed that the incident occurred inside the Rwandan Western Province at a Chinese mine that Sun Shujan managed.
The Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) arrested Sun and two others who were employed by the mine suspected of being involved in the torture–an engineer identified as Alexis Renzaho and a security guard Leonidas Nsanzimana–last year, before bringing them to trial for their crimes. The Rwandan Gihango Primary Court remanded the three individuals in September 2021. The trio then filed an appeal before Rwanda's Karongi Intermediate Court, according to the New Times.
“Shujun was given bail but [the] court ordered the seizure of his passport in addition to a bail fee of Rwf10 million [sic],” the New Times newspaper reported on Wednesday. It added, “The co-accused were denied bail and remained in custody. During the ruling on April 19, 2022, Renzaho was handed 12 years in jail as an accomplice, and Nsanzimana was acquitted.”
Sun told the Karongi Intermediary Court that the two people he was filmed attacking “had stolen minerals from his company, Ali Group Holdings Ltd,” Voice of America reported on April 20, citing the Rwandan KT Press.
The New Times reported on April 20 that there were “three victims” of Sun's torture and savagery, while Voice of America and other media outlets reported that the number was two.
Chinese companies manage mines across Rwanda and Africa as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This program allows the Chinese government to invest in infrastructure projects in countries that are developing and, in turn, expand China's influence and the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP’s) power throughout the world. Mines funded by BRI all over Africa have frequently witnessed tensions between the mine's Chinese management and African workers.
A Chinese coal miner in Zimbabwe wounded and shot two of the mine's Zimbabwean employees in June of 2020 following a dispute between African workers protesting about their owed wages and the manager. The shooting is said to have resulted in one of the victims being permanently disabled.
A Chinese company that owns the Premier Estate mining site in the eastern part of Zimbabwe canceled the hunt for 10 criminal Zimbabwean gold miners in late November 2020. The site claimed that the equipment used for the rescue was far too “expensive” to continue using. The tragic incident was said to have resulted in an entire group of African mining workers “buried alive” after being trapped in a mine shaft the previous month.