Africans are being harassed and denied services in China during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the majority of them being evicted without breaking any rules. Even though the Chinese officials are denying all allegations that Africans are being discriminated against, social media has exposed a problem that is escalating quickly, a problem that could have begun even prior to the Coronavirus pandemic.
In the city of Guangzhou, where we find a large concentration of Africans living in China, it has been reported that sick Africans have been testing positive for COVID-19, which China has been blaming to be the source of the country’s newly confirmed cases. According to African officials and other international entities, people are being denied services if found positive of COVID-19.
It is said that Africans were not just being denied services, but were being subjected to humiliation and harassment, evicted out of their hotels during the night with no place to go.
Various videos are circulating over social media where cases of discriminatory acts are being exposed. From Hotels refusing services to Black Africans to fast-food chain employees carrying signs that state”Black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant.“
Africans are watching in shock how their brothers and sisters are being treated in China, and wondering what has happened to the so-called Africa-China lovely Business deals.
Since the late 1990s during the economic boom, China has benefited from an influx of thousands of African traders and business people, mainly from West Africa, that have made cities like Guangzhou so popular, by creating African communities in the middle of southern China metro area.
In 2012, it was estimated that more than 100 thousand Africans were living in Guangzhou. However, that number has been in decline since 2014, as China have introduced more strict immigration enforcement laws. the COVID-19 pandemic has just escalated the tensions between Africans living in China and the Chinese Government.
On April 4, 2020, it was reported that a COVID-19 Nigerian patient in Guangzhou refused to cooperate with treatment and ended up injuring a nurse in the hospital. Later on, April 7, 2020, the Guangzhou government released a statement that five Nigerians also tested positive for COVID-19. Because of the large community of Africans living in Guangzhou, the local government had feared an uncontrolled pandemic breakout in African communities. A large number of Africans had been evicted from flats and hotels by landlords, and they also had difficulty in finding food and shelter. They became homeless and slept on the street.
The United States Consulate raised a travel warning to announce the discrimination condition against African-Americans in Guangzhou on 13 April. In that warning, it stated that Chinese officials might require Africans to participate in the Covid-19 test and undergo a 14-day supervised quarantine at their own expense.
Ambassadors in China from many African countries wrote to the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, asking China to resolve the discrimination problem against Africans in Guangzhou. The chair of African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, also summoned Chinese Ambassador to the AU, Liu Yuxi, to express his extreme concern.
China first reported cases of COVID-19 in the city of Wuhan on Dec. 31, according to the World Health Organization. Since then, there have been more than 82,758 people infected and 4,632 deaths.