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'Africans are bearing the brunt of racism in China'

5 May 2020 12:35 PM
Tags:
China
Racism
Discrimination
Africa
Xenophobia
SAIIA
Guangzhou
South African Institute of International Affairs
Refilwe Moloto
McDonald's
Prejudice
china-africa
Coronavirus
COVID-19
discrimination against Africans in Guangzhou
Cobus van Staden

Many foreigners face discrimination in China – Africans in particular, says Cobus van Staden, a China-Africa relations researcher.

China is Africa’s largest trading partner.

President Cyril Ramaphosa with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit in Beijing. Picture: Dirco.

Africans who make a living in China are bearing the brunt of anti-foreign prejudice, says Cobus van Staden, a senior researcher in China-Africa relations at the South African Institute of International Affairs.

Many foreigners face discrimination – Africans in particular. They end up being doubly discriminated against…

Cobus van Staden, senior researcher in China-Africa relations - SA Institute of International Affairs

Reports from China, especially from Guangzhou, suggest that Africans are being refused entry into buildings, shops and restaurants and that they’re being subjected to arbitrary Covid-19 testing.

Some have been left homeless after five Nigerians tested positive for Covid-19, resulting in an immediate quarantine for all Africans and a wave of eviction orders by landlords.

The United States has advised black Americans to stop travelling to Guangzhou, for fear of them being misidentified as being from Africa.

Guangzhou is a gargantuan city (population: 15 million) with an African population of, by some estimates, between 400 000 and 500 000.


(Also, read: China: Covid-19 Discrimination Against Africans byHuman Rights Watch)


Refilwe Moloto interviewed Cobus van Staden, a senior researcher specialising in China-Africa relations at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).

There was a resurgence of Covid-19 cases for which foreigners were blamed… Officials have quotas and need to show that they enforced restrictions on foreigners. That combined with the fact that many Africans overstay their visas… making landlords nervous. A whole bunch of people who did nothing wrong and had no visa problems ended up being evicted…

Cobus van Staden, senior researcher in China-Africa relations - SA Institute of International Affairs

African governments pushed back strongly. They summoned the Chinese ambassadors. Nigeria announced the official censure of China and the investigation of the immigration status of all Chinese people in Nigeria. It blew up in Africa to an extent the Chinese didn’t expect.

Cobus van Staden, senior researcher in China-Africa relations - SA Institute of International Affairs

South Africa is playing it quietly… China is a big partner in Covid mitigation… Africa has a lot of Chinese debt, and the repayment is being renegotiated… There’s a lot riding on having good relations with China…

Cobus van Staden, senior researcher in China-Africa relations - SA Institute of International Affairs

Listen to the interview in the audio below.


5 May 2020 12:35 PM
Tags:
China
Racism
Discrimination
Africa
Xenophobia
SAIIA
Guangzhou
South African Institute of International Affairs
Refilwe Moloto
McDonald's
Prejudice
china-africa
Coronavirus
COVID-19
discrimination against Africans in Guangzhou
Cobus van Staden

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