Amidst the reports of the rising tide of discrimination driven by both Coronavirus-fueled xenophobia and deep-rooted prejudice against Africans in China, the Chinese Embassy in Botswana released a statement condemning the reports. Their stand is that the Chinese Government has been attaching great importance to the life and health of foreign nationals in China where all foreigners are treated equally.
“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, China and African countries have been supporting each other in fighting the pandemic. We won’t forget the support voiced and provided by African countries and their people when we were at the most crucial stage of the fight. We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination,” the statement read. Currently, China’s most urgent task is to prevent imported cases and domestic resurgence. Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province and a major border city with a large foreign population including many African residents, is facing increasing risk due to more and more imported cases.
By 12th April, Guangzhou has reported 26 imported cases of foreign nationals. Among them 19 are from African countries, accounting for 73%. There are also 60 asymptomatic cases from abroad, and 57 of them are from African countries, accounting for 95%.
The statement further read: “African residents in Guangzhou usually live in groups and like gathering, and are generally reluctant to take protective measures such as wearing masks. Frankly speaking, their lifestyle has brought a lot of panic in the neighboring Chinese communities when the pandemic situation is still severe and thus resulted in some overreactions and tensions in the neighborhood. The Chinese governments at all levels have always rejected such overreactions, and have been trying to provide guidance and mitigation.”
In order to effectively protect the health of all Chinese and foreign nationals and maintain the hard-won epidemic prevention outcome, the Guangzhou authorities recently conducted a major investigation of all high-risk groups. Over 15,000 people were required to quarantine at home or in designated places. Among them, 4,600 were foreigners, including African nationals and foreign nationals from 13 countries including Russia, the United States and Australia, Canada among others and the measure is not targeting African nationals.
The Chinese authorities are currently hard at work to improve the working conditions of Africans living in China. These measures include providing health management services without differentiation, to designate hotels for the accommodation of foreigners required to undergo medical observation and adopt price adjustment for those in financial difficulties; to set up effective communication mechanism with foreign consulates-general in Guangzhou; and to reject all racist and discriminatory remarks and behaviors. At present, all infected patients and close contacts have been identified. The rest will be released from quarantine according to relevant epidemic prevention process. The local authorities will continue to take necessary measures to protect the health and safety of foreign nationals.