Immigration authorities in Zambia on Tuesday released all the 31 Chinese nationals who were detained on Monday.
The Chinese, working for copper smelting Chinese companies on the Copperbelt province, were detained by police for suspected illegal purchase of copper tailing raw materials.
However, Zambian authorities failed to provide strong proof of their crimes, and released the Chinese nationals after talks with Chinese Embassy officials.
The Chinese nationals were expected to be flown back to China after their release, sources said.
China lodged solemn representations to Zambia on Monday following the detention of its nationals.
While stating that China would not defend illegal actions, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed concern over what it called “selective” law-enforcement against its citizens overseas.
Zambia had detained 31 Chinese nationals for illegal mining in the African country’s copper belt on Monday, a senior Chinese diplomat said as he lodged the complaint.
Chinese companies had invested more than one billion dollars in copper-rich Zambia but there had been animosity, with some Zambian workers accusing firms of abuses and underpaying.