Bongani Siziba and Diana Chiyangwa
JOHANNESBURG – As the world battles with covid-19 pandemic, Africans living in China’s Guangzhou have become targets for discrimination and racist attacks after they were forcibly evicted from hotels and barred from public places.
The racist attacks have stirred outrage on the continent, with African Ambassadors based in China speaking out against the racist attacks.
Some Africans in the Chinese city have said they are now living in the streets after they were evicted from hotels and other residencies.
Video footage from China has shown Chinese nationals kicking Nigerians out of a hotel and seizing their passports.
The abuse of the Nigerian nationals has led African officials to confront Chinese officials over the attacks and in a video that has gone viral, Nigerian Consul General Mr Cyril Anozie is seen rebuking Chinese officials.
A Zimbabwean citizen living in Guangzhou who preferred anonymity told the Africanvoices Global that confirmed of witnessing the racist attacks.
“We are leaving in fear. We have seen some of our African friends being evicted from their hotels and they are now leaving in the streets.
“The Chinese forget that this virus started in their country but we have never discriminated or laid blame on them,” she said.
She revealed that Africans in her areas have been barred from visiting shops.
“My friend is in prison for almost two months now, she did not commit any crime. As blacks we are not allowed to go buy food in their shops or even use public transport”.
Another Zimbabwean living in China blamed officials from his own country for not intervening to protect them.
“The annoying part is that our government says we are safe here in China than back home, this is because they don’t talk to us and hear our plight,” said the Zimbabwean national who preferred to be referred to by her first name, Tafadzwa.
Efforts to get a comment from the Zimbabwe Embassy in China were fruitless, as the country’s Ambassador to Beijing Martin Chedondo had not responded at the time of publishing.
However Nigeria has been hailed for standing up for its citizens in China.
In a meeting held by African community leaders in Guangzhou and the Chinese government, the Nigerians pushed for the evections and racist attacks to end.
Ghana has also spoken out strongly against the abuse of Africans and the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional integration Mrs Shirley Ayorkor Botchway said:
“l have summoned the Chinese ambassador to Ghana Mr Shi Ting Wang to register my disappointment and call his government to immediately address the situation and bring their officials to order” she said.
China says it has largely curtailed its COVID-19 outbreak but recent cases linked to the Nigerian community in Guangzhou ignited the alleged discrimination by the Chinese.