African ambassadors to China have written to the country’s foreign minister about what they call discrimination against Africans as the country seeks to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus.
Several African countries have also separately asked China to respond to their concerns that Africans, particularly in the southern city of Guangzhou, are being mistreated and harassed.
After mastering the epidemic of origin centered on the city of Wuhan, the Chinese are now worried about imported cases and are intensifying the examination of foreigners entering the country and tightening border controls. He denied any discrimination.
In recent days, Africans in Guangzhou have stated that they were ejected from their apartments by their owners, tested several times for the coronavirus without obtaining results, and rejected and discriminated against in public. Such complaints have been made in the local media and on social media.
According to the ambassadors’ note, such “stigma and discrimination” gave the false impression that the virus was spread by Africans.
“The Group of African Ambassadors in Beijing immediately demands an end to the forced testing, quarantine and other inhuman treatment inflicted on Africans,” he added.
The note was sent to State Councilor Wang Yi, the top diplomat in the Chinese government, copying the President of the African Union, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and all African foreign ministers.
“The authorities in Guangdong attach great importance to the concerns of certain African countries and are rapidly trying to improve their working method,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a statement on Sunday, saying reference to the province in which Guangzhou is located.
“African friends can count on a fair, just, cordial and friendly welcome to China,” he said, adding that the foreign ministry will stay in close communication with the Guangdong authorities and respond to “reasonable concerns and legitimate calls from the African side “.
Zhao’s statement did not refer to the ambassadors’ note to Wang and did not mention allegations of discrimination against Africans in the city.
Foreign Minister Liu Baochun said at a press conference on Sunday that Guangzhou applied anti-virus measures to anyone entering the city across the national border, regardless of nationality, race or his gender.
The Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe on Saturday dismissed the accusation that Africans were deliberately targeted.
“It is dangerous to sensationalize isolated incidents,” he said in a tweeted statement. “Chinatrame everyone in the country, Chinese and foreign, on an equal footing.”
The ambassadors’ note highlighted a number of reported incidents, including the fact that Africans were evicted from hotels in the middle of the night, passport seizures and threats of revocation, arrest or expulsion of visas .
Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said on Saturday that she had summoned the Chinese ambassador to express disappointment and demand action.
The Kenyan foreign ministry also “officially expressed concern”, adding that the government was working with the Chinese authorities to resolve the problem.
On Friday, Nigerian lawmaker Akinola Alabi tweeted a video of a meeting between the leader of the Nigerian lower house, Femi Gbajabiamila, and Chinese ambassador Zhou Pingjian. In the document, Gbajabiamila asked the diplomat for an explanation after showing Zhou a video of a Nigerian complaining of ill-treatment in China.
The ambassador said in response to questions from the house leader that he took the complaints “very seriously” and promised to forward them to the authorities.