Footage of Africans sleeping on the streets of Guangzhou has caused outrage online. Now, African governments are putting pressure on Beijing to take action.
Fears of a second wave of coronavirus in China have led to widespread racism and xenophobia against African populations. Reports of Africans being forced out of their homes in Guangzhou,China have caused fear amongst its African community and backlash across social media.
As China faces more cases of the novel coronavirus, much of the blame has been placed on foreign nationals who are being accused of importing new cases into the country.
Guangzhou, nicknamed “Little Africa,” has the highest population of African immigrants—largely from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Uganda—who have long been a target of racial discrimination.
Tensions further escalated over the weekend when Chinese state media reported that five Nigerians had contracted the virus and passed it onto a local restaurant owner.
According to CNN, various businesses began denying services to African foreign nationals and several were evicted from their homes in the Southern Chinese city—despite many having no confirmed contact with the virus or recent travel history.
Images and video footage, showing Africans being forcefully displaced and sleeping outside with their luggage, has warranted angry responses on social media, with people denouncing the widespread mistreatment of Black people in the country.
In response several African diplomatic leaders from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, as well as the African Union have called on Beijing to take urgent action against the abuse of African residents.
Media reports have slammed the Chinese government and according to a report from CNN, China—which has a major economic presence across Africa—faces a growing “diplomatic crisis” due to the outrage caused by the disregard shown for Africans.
The US consulate in Guangzhou has urged African-Americans to avoid traveling to the area as well. “As part of this campaign, police ordered bars and restaurants not to serve clients who appear to be of African origin,” read a statement from the consulate.
The statement further described the racial discrimination taking place in the city:
“Moreover, local officials launched a round of mandatory tests for Covid-19, followed by mandatory self-quarantine, for anyone with ‘African contacts,’ regardless of recent travel history or previous quarantine completion.”
Many online have decried the treatment of Africans in China, and are calling on Chinese public figures—many of whom publicly called out the anti-Chinese racism spewed by people like President Donald