African officials have begun to publicly speak out on the treatment of their citizens by the Chinese government after a week which saw the widespread circulation of videos, most of them from Guangzhou, showing black migrants being harassed and evicted from their homes by Chinese police.
Numerous videos of alleged mistreatment have begun to circulate on Twitter. One shows a group of Nigerian businessmen being forced out of their hotels by Chinese police. A later video of the men showed them on the streets, saying that no other hotel in the city would accept them as guests. Other videos show restaurants refusing to serve black patrons and racial abuse being openly thrown at black people on the streets of Guangzhou.
The U.S. Embassy in China has said that Chinese police have ordered bars and restaurants not to serve clients who “appear to be of African origin.”They advise African-Americans to avoid Guangzhou until further notice, saying that “The Chinese legal system can be opaque, and the interpretation and enforcement of local laws may be arbitrary.”
The negative reaction to the attacks and evictions has been particularly strong in Kenya, with the largest of Kenyan’s national papers, the Daily Nation, running a front page article headlined “Kenyans in China: Rescue us from Hell.”
A number of the members of the Kenya parliament have even called on Chinese nationals in Kenya to return to China as punishment after Kenyan citizens were evicted from their houses in China and accused of spreading COVID-19.
The situation led the Speaker of the Nigerian parliament, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, to summon the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria and force him to watch videos of the mistreatment of Africans in China. The conversation itself was videotaped and uploaded to Twitter by the Speaker.
Uganda, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and South Africa have also voiced concern on the treatment of their citizens by China. The US has said that African-Americans in China have also been targeted.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has denied that Chinese officials are specifically targeting Africans, but recent increases in the rate of COVID-19 infections appear to be being largely blamed upon black migrants by the Chinese government and government controlled media channels. The Foreign Ministry has said that the US is to blame for the reports of mistreatment and that they are trying to “drive a wedge between China and Africa, something which the Foreign Ministry says will “never succeed.”