Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, US and China started playing their political game. On Saturday, April 11, US accused the Chinese authorities of "xenophobia" toward Africans who are currently living in the Asian country. These comments came after COVID-19 cases among Nigerians unleashed a wave of evictions in the city of Guangzhou, located in the northwest Hong Kong.
As per the African residents of China, they were kicked out of lodgings and then turned away from hotels as the suspicions aroused by the Nigerian cases. As per State Department spokesperson said, using the acronym for the Peoples Republic of China, "The abuse and mistreatment of Africans living and working in China is a sad reminder of how hollow the PRC-Africa partnership really is. At a time when we should be supporting one another to recover from a pandemic PRC officials recklessly hid from the world, Chinese officials are busy evicting African students into the streets without food or shelter."
Coronavirus triggers 'xenophobia'
When the Coronavirus hit China's Wuhan city and it started spreading in other parts of the world, US President Donald Trump called the Novel Coronavirus "Chinese Virus" and it soon triggered hate among Americans about Asian-Americans. Even though Trump later said that the Asian American students should not be blamed for the outbreak, in the past few weeks the US noticed several racially motivated attacks. As of now, many Asian people in the US have faced verbal, virtual and physical attacks.
A victim of the racial attacks in the US, Kyle Navarro, a Filipino national, was kneeling down to unlock his bicycle and he noticed an elderly white American was staring at him who later spat towards Navarro and then kept walking. The situation became so worse than an Asian American man and his two children were stabbed at Sam's Club in Texas last month. When the police interrogated the 19-year-old suspect, he said that he thought they were "infecting people."
Now, in China people are facing racial discrimination. After the treatment African nationals started receiving in Guangzhou, concerned the president of the African Union. Even in a recently shared video, a notice in a local restaurant reads:
"We have been informed that from now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant. For the sake of your health consciously notify the local police for medical isolation. Please understand the inconvenience causes."
US accuses China of 'Xenophobia'
It should be noted that Guangzhou authorities said that at least eight people diagnosed with the illness had spent time in the city's Yuexiu district, known as "Little Africa". Five were Nigerian nationals living in China who faced widespread anger after reports surfaced that they had broken a mandatory quarantine and been to eight restaurants and other public places instead of staying at home.
Tony Mathias, 24, an exchange student from Uganda who was forced from his apartment on Monday told media that "I've been sleeping under the bridge for four days with no food to eat... I cannot buy food anywhere, no shops or restaurants will serve me. We're like beggars on the street."
While many netizens raised their voice against the racial attacks on Africans in China, as per AFP the State Department spokesperson mentioned that it is unfortunate but not surprising to see such kind of xenophobia towards Africans by Chinese authorities and added that "Anyone who watches Chinese engagement in projects across Africa recognizes this kind of abusive and manipulative behaviour."
In addition, he further mentioned that "Promises made to Africans, including those who work and study in China, are never kept as advertised. To treat people - especially students - this way during a global public health crisis says everything about how the PRC views their so-called 'partnership' with Africa."