Due to alleged racism, the relations between China and Africa have embittered after African officials confronted China publicly over forced evictions, subjective quarantines, and mistreatment of African nationals in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, as per media reports. As China prepares to fight the second wave of infection, at least 5 Nigerians were caught flouting quarantine leading to suspicion and distrust for African communities in China.
Several Africans were discriminated against after police and Public Health Bureau in Guangzhou responded to “rumours” that as many as 300,000 people of colour were responsible for the resurgence of the outbreak, which caused “panic”, officials told international media reporters. Owing to the sudden surge in "imported cases" of COVID-19 mainly due to the overseas nationals, reports of harassment of African nationals, most of them students, emerged across several cities in China causing a diplomatic crisis.
African diplomats in Beijing met with Chinese Foreign Ministry officials in confrontation with increasing racism and “stated in very strong terms their concern and condemnation of the disturbing and humiliating experiences our citizens have been subjected to,” Sierra Leone's Embassy in Beijing said in a statement. It added that over 14 African nationals were “forced” into compulsory 14-day quarantine for no reason, media reports confirmed.
According to U.S. Embassy security alert, issued April 12, “police ordered bars and restaurants not to serve clients who appear to be of African origin.” Further elaborating the situation it read, “local officials launched mandatory testing and self-quarantine for anyone with ‘African contacts.’” In a public statement titled Discrimination against African-Americans in Guangzhou, US alleged, “African-Americans have reported that some businesses and hotels refused to do business with them and have done discrimination”.
Outrage in African countries such as Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya reportedly broke out after videos of Africans facing harassment and discrimination in China surfaced online. A leading Kenyan daily headline read, “Kenyans in China: Rescue us from hell”, shortly, a member of Kenya Parliament threatened the Chinese nationals to “leave Kenya”, a leading US media outlet reported. The government of Uganda and Ghana asked the Chinese ambassadors to evacuate China and return, according to media reports. Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, tweeted saying, the Chinese Ambassador to the AU has been invited to “discuss” the mistreatment of Africans.
(With Agency Inputs)