Africans in China being 'evicted, forcefully tested' for Coronavirus

Updated: Apr 14, 2020, 08:18 IST | Agencies | Beijing

African ambassadors write to China's foreign minister stating that such ‘stigmatisation and discrimination' has led people to believe that the African nationals are spreading the deadly virus; Beijing denies the allegations

Screengrab shows police in China apprehending an African national. Courtesy/CNN
Screengrab shows police in China apprehending an African national. Courtesy/CNN

African ambassadors in China have written to Foreign Minister Wang Yi over the "discrimination" against the African nationals in the Chinese city of Guangzhou. According to reports, African students and expatriates in the city are being evicted by the landlords, forcefully tested for the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and quarantined without checking their travel history or considering other criteria for testing.

Several of them have been refused rooms in hotels and are forced to live on the streets, according to CNN. Several videos and posts about the alleged discrimination also went viral, leading to widespread anger among citizens in Africa.

Al Jazeera reported that its journalist Sarah Clarke said some in China believe the African community in Guangzhou could be behind a second wave of infections. "Since last Thursday we saw 114 new cases reported in Guangzhou of Coronavirus and 16 of them Africans. We've seen a number of reports from members of the African community in Guangzhou making complaints of mistreatment, arrests, eviction and being denied access to restaurants and hotels, and some students are even claiming to be living on the streets and being denied food," she said.

The ambassadors said such "stigmatisation and discrimination" has led people to believe that the Africans are spreading the virus. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has, however, denied the claims of discrimination, without referring to the letter to Wang.

Zhao Lijian said, "The Guangdong authorities attach great importance to some African countries' concerns and are working promptly to improve their working method. African friends can count on getting fair, just, cordial and friendly reception in China."

'No home quarantine for patients'

Wang Xinghuan, the head of the Wuhan Leishenshan Hospital, involved in handling the crisis in Wuhan on Monday said mandatory isolation of people with mild symptoms in special centres instead of their homes is essential as they are very likely to spread the virus to their family members.

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