Image from www.africannews.com
The past few days have been dominated by reports of confrontational xenophobia experienced by African nationals who live in China. Concerning reports have circulated across major news outlets, revealing the inhumane nature in which many African nationals have been mistreated by Chinese authorities and unfairly evicted amidst further reports of coronavirus cases resurfacing.
In recent days, a number of Nigerian and Kenyan nationals based in the city of Guangzhou have come to the public and spoken out about the unfair manner in which they have been evicted from their apartments by their landlords. They also claim that they have been aggressively tested for coronavirus several times without being given results, before being shamed in public.
After initial suspect reports on social media – the story has since gone viral and the western world has cast a disapproving eye in the direction of the People’s Republic.
To get a good idea of the situation on the ground, Moziak Magazine reached out to a correspondent in Beijing to gain some perspective on the matter. In order to protect her identity, she agreed to speak to us under the alias: Alicia Brown.
We sent Alicia a message on Whatsapp, despite the fact that the social media app is not allowed in China (Most internet users who wish to use “western” social media apps do so using VPN”. After a few hours, she replied and said:
“Xenophobia is quite prevalent in China for the most part. They are a very patriotic people and many locals don’t take too well to foreigners. But people of colour, particularly those from Africa, feel it the most. In Beijing it’s not as bad as it is in Guangzhou and a number of other cities and provinces across the country. The thing is, most Africans who live in China are aware of this, but this is the first time that the mistreatment has made its way out of the borders.”.
We asked Alicia if she had any additional insight on the unfair coronavirus testing reports that had been doing the rounds and she commented:
“It’s not clear what has instigated the testing specifically on Africans. The reports have been kind of true that coronavirus cases seem to have re-emerged in some regions, but it’s tough to imagine who could have brought it in again because borders have been closed for a number of weeks. Other than that, I can’t fathom why Africans are being selectively tested.”
“This isn’t the last time that we will hear of these issues. It’s very sad to feel like you are targeted all the time, but now that it’s got international attention, we are hopeful that the government will take stronger action to protect seemingly innocent people.”