Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, it has unveiled racial disparity around the world. In America, xenophobic attacks have ensued toawrds Asian, specfically Chinese, communities. These attacks began based on the assumption that the Coronavirus had begun in China. While researchers are still working on finding out the origins of the virus, racial tensions around the world are rising. America isn’t the only country currently experiencing cases of xenophobia and racial inequality, but it is happening in China as well. It has been reported that there has been prejudice treatment of Africans in China and here is why.
As of last week it was reported by South China Morning Post, that five Nigerian nationals had tested positive to the Coronavirus. They were linked to have eaten on multiple occasions at a restaurant called Emma’s restaurant in the city of Guangzhou. They have since shut down the restaurant to conduct a series of health inspections. They have also shut down ‘Little Africa’ home to one of Asia’s largest African migrant populations. Health officials have taken these actions because they believe that “community transmission of the coronavirus” had been occuring. They have not reported any acts of discrimination.
Non-Chinese media outlets have been reporting much more brutal circumstances that have been placed on Africans in Guangzhou. According to the Washington Post, Africans in the city are being forced out of their apartments into involuntary isolation. Others are forced onto the streets unable to find accommodations to self-quarantine. Some are being monitored by camera to make sure they are abiding by the enforced isolation order. China foreign minsitry has denied claims of any discrimination aganist Africans in their country. Videos and pictures that have begun circulating on social media are saying otherwise.
On social media videos of Africans sleeping on the streets with their belongings, harassed while walking, and denied service in hotels and restaurants are a few examples of prejudices towards Africans during this time.The foreign minister of Nigeria described it has “unacceptable acts of discrimantion” towards African people. The most disturbing image of all is the McDonald’s sign banning black people from eating at their restaurant. Earlier on Tuesday, McDonald’s China apologizes for banning the entrance of black people in their restaurant.
China claims that they are not discriminating against blacks and are in-fact taking cautious actions towards foreigners who are traveling from high-risk countries, but a former African-American resident of Guangzhou tells differently. Ronald Polyglot, a American expat, describes what the reality of Guangzhou was like as a black foreigner before fleeing to the states. He told the podcast host of Politibro, Chris Richie, “many foreigners are having a rough time in China but the Africans have it the worst.” He talks about how foreigners from around the world living in China are unable to return to their apartments. He said hotels are denying black people but believes overall, all foreigners are being discriminated against. Polyglot believes that the dicrimination is based on information the Chinese government is withholding. He believes that the Chinese government knows the origins of the Coronavirus and believes that it started in Africa. This is why there has been a development of mistreatment towards Africans.
As the situation unfolds, China is quickly trying to recover potentially severed ties between China and Africa. The Guangdong provincial government has denounced citizens in taking part in any discriminatory acts towards Africans. They called Africa “good friends, partners and brothers” and stressed the importance of “working promptly to improve” the current experience for Africans in China.
I believe that the Chinese media is trying to cover the reality of the entire situation. The constant denials and lack of information tells the truth about the situation. Moreover, many news outlets such as CNN and Washington Post paint China as unapologetic for their discrimination. While outlets like Al-Jazeera are reporting more unbiased reality of McDonald’s being racist by openly discriminating against blacks. But evidence such as social media posts and stories from black people living in Guangzhou tell that China is being racist towards black during this pandemic. With such tight locked media and information it’s hard to know what’s the truth especially when an entire government is denying allegations.