Africans living in China are reporting increased harassment and racial profiling due to coronavirus fears.
What We Know:
- As China reopens two months after the coronavirus was first detected in the city of Wuhan, African nationals in Guangzhou are saying they are being targeted, CNN reported.
- According to CNN, Africans have been illegally evicted, forced to undergo COVID-19 testing, and quarantine. After seeing video and hearing accounts of the treatment of their countrymen, the African media has denounced China in newspaper reports and on TV in several countries.
- There has been an increasingly cozy relationship between African nations and China, resulting in $208 billion in trade between the two in 2019, according to China’s General Administration of Customs. A Nigerian lawmaker, Oloye Akin Alabi, posted a video of his conversation with a Chinese official asking about the treatment of Nigerians in China.
Mr Speaker reads the riot act to the Chinese ambassador: We will not tolerate maltreatment of Nigerians in China!!! pic.twitter.com/gblIVVynNz
— Oloye Akin Alabi (@akinalabi) April 10, 2020
- Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian tweeted that the country will not allow racial intolerance within its borders.
Our attitude is clear, firm & consistent: ZERO tolerance for racial discrimination. NOTHING can change such a position. Communication, including constructive criticism is welcome. That will help any party concerned to improve its working methods & reduce misunderstanding. https://t.co/CoxINwnmJm
— Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe (@China_Amb_Zim) April 11, 2020
- The Chinese ambassador to the African Union, Liu Yuxi, also tweeted out his support for African nationals in China and his goal to ensure no racial profiling takes place.
China&Africa have forged time-tested ties too strong to be affected by sporadic incidents or attempts to sow discord. https://t.co/fYjwBEdHIw
— Liu Yuxi (@Ambassador_Liu) April 14, 2020
Due to the mobilization of volunteers via WeChat, most of the displaced Africans have found shelter. Some were rounded up and quarantined, while others were matched with landlords and hotels that would rent to them. It seemed apparent that the Chinese wanted them off the streets if only to staunch any criticism from their African partners in trade.