On Wednesday, BBC published a report claiming that hundreds of Africans, including businessmen living in Guangzhou, the capital city of China's Guangdong province, were being removed from their hotels and apartments by local authorities as they carried out a coronavirus testing campaign.
Fake news claiming that the coronavirus was spreading through the African community in the city, led officials to go door-to-door to perform tests over fears that they're infected.
Hundreds of Africans rendered homeless
The citywide crackdown, which began on Tuesday, has led to many, including pregnant women and children, getting thrown out of their apartments by landlords and hotel rooms that they paid for, rendering them homeless and forcing them to sleep on the streets. Guangzhou is home to one of China's largest African communities and has become a hub for African traders buying and selling goods to the continent.
"They are accusing us of having the virus. We paid rent to them and after collecting rent they chased us out of the house. Since last night we have been sleeping outside," a Nigerian student said. Many say they have had their passports seized by officials, evicted and put under forced quarantine even after completing a 14-day self-isolation period. Some have also claimed that they are not even allowed to enter local businesses and public places like malls, restaurants and hospitals.
Social media outrage over 'racist' treatment
Videos of hundreds of Africans on the streets of Guangzhou have gone viral on social media, sparking outrage from the community worldwide, with many calling china "racist" for targeting Africans in the country and even led the hashtag #ChinaMustExplain to become a trending topic on Twitter.
"China's treatment of Nigerians and Africans by denying them entry into their homes and hotels in China, under the guise of holding them responsible for the COVIDー19 is totally unfair, malicious and downright racist," wrote one user.
"Africans living in China are being harassed with claims that they're spreading coronavirus in China," commented another "They're being denied access to food, shelter, means of transport. African governments should move swiftly and evacuate their people before it turns xenophobic."
The "racist" mistreatment of the community also led Nigeria's Consulate General to publicly confront Chinese authorities for evicting fellow Africans from their homes in a video that is also doing the rounds online.