The following is a letter from the Head of Press and Public Affairs of the Chinese Embassy in London to the Daily Mail Managing Editor, the main content of which was carried on the newspaper on Oct 26th.
Dear Managing Editor，
I am writing in reference to the feature “Mugabe’s darkest secret: An 800bn Pound blood diamond mine he’s running with China’s Red Army” carried by the Daily Mail on Sept 18th, which claims that the Chinese military is mining diamond in Zimbabwe and are engaged in atrocities against the local people.
The investigative journalist who wrote the story made a specific allegation linking the Chinese military with “blood diamond”, but failed to provide any proof, not even a picture on the ground. His allegations are as groundless as the title and headline of his feature article are misleading. The PLA is neither involved in running the diamond mine nor in the alleged human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately at no point was the Chinese side contacted to confirm what was being reported.
The PLA has long disengaged itself from any business operations. And the few military officers that are dispatched abroad are largely for the purposes of peace-keeping, anti-piracy and normal military exchanges. It can only be a stretch of imagination to believe that PLA soldiers are mining for diamond in a foreign country.
China has a traditional friendship with Africa and is committed to working for peace, stability and development of African countries.
Spokesperson and Head of Press and Public Affairs
Chinese Embassy in the UK