Africans in China targeted over coronavirus
Africans targeting persecution in China due to coronavirus
African people living and working in China talk about massive racist campaign as local authorities try to blame Africans for COVID-19 re-outbreaks
The Voice of America obtained a video filmed at his home by a Congo student studying in Wuhan, China. An African tries to leave the apartment he rented, the doors of which are sealed, and asks a masked Chinese man outside to allow him to leave the premises. The student says that he has not left his apartment in two months and assures that he has no symptoms of coronavirus. The Chinese refuses: the Congolese must stay at home for another 14 days.
“This is our job, we have to do it. This is due to the critical situation with the [COVID-19] pandemic in Africa, “the Chinese persists, forbidding the student to leave the house..
In fact, a total of 17,691 coronavirus cases have been reported in Africa to date, including 117 cases in the Congo..
While the Chinese authorities begin to open the country after the official Beijing announced victory over the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, Africans permanently living in the PRC talk about being forced to undergo additional tests, quarantined and, in some cases, just kicked out of their homes. Africans interviewed by VOA reporters say they are victims of a racist campaign that blames Africans for the spread of the coronavirus in China.
Thierry Ndajengezere, a Burundian businessman who has lived in China for 12 years, says Chinese medics, backed by security forces, are targeting Africans on purpose. They knock on the doors of houses where Africans live and demand that residents pass a coronavirus test, sending people to quarantine for 14 days. Thierry says some members of the African diaspora are beginning to fear that the authorities are experimenting with them..
“Imagine you wake up in the morning, and at your door there are people who say that you should do this test … Some friends believe that this is not a simple test – they may want to infect us with this virus,” – said Ndajengezere in an interview with the Voice of America.
Fear is compounded by the lack of any explanation from the official authorities.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian assures foreigners are not discriminated against by Chinese authorities.
“We continue to face a greater risk of imported cases and a resurgence [of a pandemic] domestically. As the pandemic spreads around the world, imported cases of infection are on the rise, “Zhao said on Sunday, assuring China” treats all foreigners equally “and” does not tolerate discrimination. “.
But human rights activists say the opposite: Beijing denies Africans basic civil rights.
“We have photographs showing that people are locked in their apartments without access to food. If you’re black, you just can’t go out, “Mamane Bashir, a spokeswoman for the Association of Nigerians in China, told Voice of America..
“We understand that everyone must be tested. But if your test is negative, then you should be allowed to go outside, ”adds Bashir, who claims that in the case of Africans, authorities often adhere to the opposite principle..
Guangzhou is home to China’s largest African diaspora, estimated at between 100,000 and 200,000. On April 7, authorities announced that 16 coronavirus cases had been identified in the urban area known as Little Africa. Since then, local Africans say, they have been persecuted..
An immigrant from Kenya living in Guangzhou told Voice of America that it used to be very common in the city to see groups of Africans on the street and in public places. However, now immigrants from Africa are not visible on the streets of the city..
“You won’t see a single black person in the market or in the store,” says a Kenyan woman who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals. The other day, one of her flatmates passed a coronavirus test, after which the authorities took her away in an unknown direction. The woman does not know about the further fate of her friend.
“I don’t know where she is now. It’s getting harder and harder to live here, ”says the Kenyan.