One of the biggest ways the outbreak of the CCP coronavirus has damaged China’s international reputation is by exposing the country’s racist attitude toward Africans. Despite the fact that the virus originated in China itself, local governments and people in different parts of the country have been treating Africans like they were the ones responsible for triggering the COVID-19 pandemic. Such an attitude obviously has angered millions of Africans back home.
Racist attitudes about Africans
The region most affected by racism is the city of Guangzhou in Guangdong Province, an industrial hub that is known to be the home of numerous African immigrants. After news broke out that some Africans tested positive for the CCP coronavirus, the local population started acting harshly toward them. Videos that went viral on the Internet show the horrifying ways in which Africans were treated — hotels dragged them out and evicted them, shopping malls restricted their entry, restaurants refused to serve them food, the police constantly demanded to check their passports, and so on. This treatment became the everyday reality of an average African living in China.
Of the roughly 86,500 foreign nationals living in Guangzhou as of 2019, almost 13,500, or 15 percent, were Africans. Since early April, over 4,500 Africans, or 30 percent of their population, have been subjected to testing. Out of these people, 111 cases of infection were identified. In a sign that was erected in Guangdong Province, landlords were asked to make Africans leave. To be clear, anti-foreign sentiment has been growing in China for the past couple of years due to xenophobic propaganda unleashed by the government that caricatures them as potential spies.
Even during the CCP coronavirus crisis, many places have explicitly banned foreigners. However, Africans are getting the worst treatment among all foreigners. And this is what has infuriated many African people. In one video shot at a shopping mall, a guard could be seen blocking an African woman from entering the place. When a Caucasian woman tried to enter the mall, the guard allowed her and clearly signaled that the African woman was not allowed.
Anozie Maduabuchi Cyril, the Consul-General of the Nigerian High Commission in China, lashed out at Chinese officials for targeting Nigerians, reminding them how unfair such attitudes are since Chinese people in Nigeria were not treated in such a racist manner despite China being the origin of the CCP coronavirus. “In Nigeria, we have a lot of Chinese. I don’t think you have ever received any information that the government of Nigeria go to their various houses and pick them for quarantine, so why are Africans and indeed Nigerians being targeted? We have European people here, people from America, Spain, and Italy and other countries, so why are you harassing them?” he said to The Epoch Times.
African American impact
On April 13, the U.S. consulate had to issue an alert warning African-Americans to avoid the Guangzhou region since they could be racially targeted. It advised African-Americans in China to always carry their identity documents with them since it is less likely for officials to target an American citizen.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused the U.S. of trying to drive a wedge between Africa and China, saying that the United States was being neither responsible nor moral. A State Department spokesperson pointed out that the mistreatment meted out to Africans in China is a clear signal of how hollow the China-Africa relationship is despite Beijing constantly masquerading as being a benefactor for African people.