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No, ‘Chinese’ have not ‘taken command’ of Zambia’s police force

“Chinese now take command in Zambian police force,” reads a screenshot doing the rounds on Facebook since April 2020. “Something is wrong in our continent of Africa.”

It shows three photos as evidence. In one, a police officer is putting a medal on a uniformed Chinese officer. The other two appear to be photos of Chinese police posing with Zambian police. 

Data from CrowdTangle, Facebook’s public insights tool, reveals that the screenshot has been shared hundreds of times, attracting thousands of reactions. 

But do the photos show “Chinese” – or representatives of China – taking command of the police in Zambia? We checked.

Photos from 2017

The Zambia police service is still headed by inspector general Kakoma Kanganja.

And the photos are all three years old, taken at different times in 2017.

A reverse image search using the first photo reveals it was taken on 30 June 2017. It shows Kanganja conferring a police medal of bravery on the Chinese defence attache, Senior Colonel Sun Ming, during a ceremony in Lusaka.

Zambia’s Daily Mail newspaper reported that he was given the medal for helping to increase the number of specially trained Zambian officers.

A reverse image search of the other photos reveals they were taken during the drafting of eight members of Zambia’s Chinese community into the country’s police reserve unit on 18 December 2017.

The BBC News later reported that the Chinese nationals were removed from the unit after a public outcry. – Dancan Bwire


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