China targets African travelers amid new wave of coronavirus cases

by Editorial Team

A city in southern China has ordered bars and restaurants not to serve customers who appear to be of African origin, citing an increase in coronavirus cases from abroad, the US consulate there said.

Guangzhou, which has about 15 million residents, is promising that anyone with “African” contacts will face a mandatory virus test followed by quarantine, regardless of recent travel history or previous isolation, according to Reuters, citing a statement from the consulate.

US diplomats also advised African Americans or those who fear being targeted to stay away from Guangzhou.

Some African traders have reported being evicted or discriminated against because of coronavirus fears, the Associated Press reported.

In an unusually open critique, the speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives tweeted a video of him pressing the Chinese ambassador on the issue.

“It’s almost undiplomatic the way I’m talking, but it’s because I’m upset about what’s going on,” Femi Gbajabiamila said.

“We take it very seriously,” Ambassador Zhou Pingjian replies.

Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama also summoned the ambassador to express “extreme concern” and call for an immediate government response. Kenya likewise has spoken out about the mistreatment.

Sierra Leone’s diplomats in Beijing have met with Chinese officials and “stated in very strong terms their concern and condemnation of the disturbing and humiliating experiences our citizens have been subjected to,” according to a statement from the African nation.

On Saturday, China blamed travelers from abroad for an increase in coronavirus cases, triggering concern about a second wave of the pandemic in the country. The National Health Commission put the number of new cases reported Friday at 46, including 42 from abroad. Many of the new cases were Chinese nationals crossing the border from Russia into China’s northern provinces.


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