Lu Ke is accused of exploiting children in Malawian villages by filming them making racist remarks about themselves in Chinese phrases they did not understand.
LILONGWE, Malawi – A fugitive Chinese national wanted in Malawi for filming children singing racist chants in Chinese has been arrested in neighbouring Zambia, an immigration official said on Monday.
“He was arrested in Chipata, Zambia after fleeing the country through uncharted routes,” Malawi immigration spokesperson Pasqually Zulu said.
Lu Ke is accused of exploiting children in Malawian villages by filming them making racist remarks about themselves, in Chinese phrases they did not understand.
He sold the videos on Chinese social media, in a business uncovered last week by the BBC.
“We want him to stand trial in Malawi,” police spokesperson Harry Namwaza said. His country would seek Lu’s extradition.
In one video, a young child, 9, is heard saying: “I am a monster with low IQ.”
In a statement last week, the Chinese embassy in Malawi condemned the acts of racism by one of its citizens.
“It shall be stressed that the Chinese government has zero tolerance for racism,” it said.
“China has been cracking down on unlawful online acts in the past years and will continue to do so. The embassy will closely work with the Malawi side and see to it that this unfortunate issue be properly addressed.”
Malawi’s foreign affairs ministry said that they will engage their Chinese counterparts on the issue.
“We are trying to manage whatever aspect of this that involves us working with the Chinese government. For the rest of the other aspects, those are internal issues that are being handled by internal state organs,” the ministry’s spokesperson John Kabaghe said.
Malawi and China have had diplomatic relations since 2008, when Malawi established ties with China over Taiwan.
Since 2000, China has funded 21 development projects, including a $70 million (R1.1 billion) highway linking Malawi and Zambia.
An $80 million loan from the Export Import Bank of China paid to construct a new university, a new parliament building, and a national stadium.
– Agence France-Presse (AFP)