Africans in Guangzhou, China, are reportedly being forced out of their apartments and hotel rooms and even being denied restaurant service, a result of discrimination reportedly spurred on fears that a second wave of the deadly coronavirus coming in from abroad.
According to the Washington Post, China has imposed some restrictions on foreigners in order to curb a renewed spread, however, African residents have faced increasing xenophobia amidst the campaign.
The report notes that other Black residents in the city are also being forced to stay inside of their apartments, even if they have not traveled recently, and made to take coronavirus tests.
“People are not happy because they’re being forced out of their apartments and into hotels where they have to pay [$30] a night for 28 days,” Maximus Ogbonna, the president of a Nigerian community group in Guangzhou told the Post.
Ogbonna himself is in quarantine for a second time. He was first quarantined for 14 days in March after returning to Guangzhou from Nigeria. However, upon completing that isolation, local officials told him he had to complete another two weeks in quarantine even though he tested negative for the coronavirus and had not traveled again.
“If this is about the virus, then why aren’t all foreigners being treated the same?” Ogbonna added.
The issues in Guangzhou have become so rife that U.S. diplomats even cautioned African Americans, telling them to stay away from the area, over the weekend.
China brushed aside the allegations on Monday.
“We do not have discrimination in China against African brothers,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, according to Reuters, accusing the US of attempting to distort the relationship between China and African countries.
“It is irresponsible and immoral for the U.S. to sow discord,” Zhao said. “Its attempt to drive a wedge between China and Africa will never succeed.”
However, as the Post notes, some in Africa don’t feel quite the same.
“Kenya and the rest of Africa feel deeply betrayed by China,” Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper wrote in an editorial. “After standing together with the Asian country at its hour of need, when the coronavirus ravaged and caused it massive devastation, it is extremely shocking that Chinese people have now turned against Africans in their midst, evicting them from their rented homes and prohibiting them from shopping or going to public places.”
“This is the height of treachery and defies social relations and human rights, let alone international protocol,” the paper added. “It is racist and objectionable.”
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