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In Guinea, Zhang Jingjing works with Mamady Koivogui and other local environmentalists to decrease the pollution and social disruption caused by Chinese bauxite mining. Courtesy of Zhang Jingjing The forests of northwest Guinea are scarred by rust-red earth—a product of the West African country’s recent bauxite mining boom. Even amidst Covid-19, the mining continues. River barges laden with ore snake from the city of Boke toward a port where cargo ships carry the mineral to China. There it is refined into the aluminum used in everything from airplanes to soda cans. Two years ago, people living near the mines in Boke began encountering a curious sight: a diminutive Chinese lawyer holding community meetings in their villages. Zhang Jingjing had traveled alone to Guinea to help communities fight the environmental and social impacts of a new Chinese mining consortium operating in the region. On that first trip to Africa, she said, lawyers in the countries she visited asked her, "’Why did you come here to help us against your home country?’" Zhang—who considers herself a global citizen—said that she replied, "’I’m not against my country. I am against polluters.’" Wherever Chinese companies go, Zhang follows. She has been to more […]

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