The United States warned the African-American community to avoid southern China's Guangzhou, amid rise in government's crack-down targeting the African community, on Saturday, April 11.

"The US Consulate General advises African-Americans or those who believe Chinese officials may suspect them of having contact with nationals of African countries to avoid the Guangzhou metropolitan area until further notice," USA's consulate in the city, issued a statement.

Homeless Africans in China
Several people of African descent were evicted from their apartments in China Twitter/James Hall

The consulate also warned them that the local government might require them to take a test and 14 days of supervised quarantine at their own expense, without advance warning, South China Morning Post reported.

Anti-African sentiments in Guangzhou

Several reports have emerged of people of African descent being evicted from flats in China. They're denied entry into restaurants, bars and hotels.

What is the reason for such anti-African sentiments?

On April 1, a 47-year-old Nigerian national who was suffering from COVID-19, allegedly attacked a Chinese nurse, who tried to stop him from leaving the isolation ward. This incident was shared on social media and led to anti-African backlash.

The local government tightened its efforts, after five Nigerians tested positive for novel coronavirus on April 7, in Guangzhou city's "Little Africa" district in Yuexiu district. Measures adopted by the government, included mandatory tests and quarantine for people of African descent, regardless of their travel history.

Several people were evicted from their flats and denied entry in restaurants and hotels. Tensions rose between them and the locals. Amid intense criticism, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhou Lijian issued a statement on Thursday: "Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, China and African countries have always supported each other and have always fought against the virus jointly."

"I would like to emphasize that the Chinese government treats all foreigners in China equally, opposes any differentiated practices targeted at specific groups of people, and has zero tolerance for discriminatory words and actions," he added.

COVID-19 in China

Although COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, first emerged in China's Wuhan, with strict measures and what can be termed as a 'draconian' lock-down, the country was able to curb the contagion.

At its peak, China reported thousands of cases and fatalities, but in the past several days, it has reported no new domestic cases, although few imported cases have emerged. To prevent them from exacerbating, the government has tightened its border controls, suspended international travel and imposed a ban on all foreigners entering the country. As on Sunday, April 12, China has reported 82,052 cases and 3,339 deaths due to the novel coronavirus.