China has condemned Zambia for detaining 31 of its nationals for alleged illegal mining without providing strong proof, Reuters news agency reports.
Those detained include a pregnant woman and two people with malaria, China’s Foreign Ministry said.
Lin Songtian, the ministry’s director-general for African affairs, had raised his concerns with a Zambian diplomat in Beijing.
China supported actions to crack down on illegal mining, but was opposed to “selective” law enforcement and the detention of its citizens without strong evidence, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a media briefing, Reuters reports.
Zambia has not yet commented.
Chinese firms have invested more than $1bn (£780m) in copper-rich Zambia.
In 2012, Zambian miners killed a Chinese supervisor and seriously wounded another in a pay dispute at a coal mine.