China downplays African evictions on coronavirus, blames USA media

People walk in Guangzhou's

People walk in Guangzhou's"Little Africa district in March 2018

A total of 111 African nationals in Guangzhou have tested positive for COVID-19, including 19 imported cases, said the city's executive vice mayor on Monday, according to Xinhua. "For the sake of your health consciously notify the local police for medical isolation, please understand the inconvenience caused".

He said that information made available to him by the African consulates and the Chinese authorities when he sought clarification on the trending videos of alleged discriminatory practises against Africans have revealed that half truths were contained in the videos.

Tensions have been running high between Africans and local people in the city.

The consulate said it has received other reports of establishments refusing to serve black patrons, plus mandatory testing and quarantines imposed on people with "African contacts" by Chinese officials.

The sign read, "We've been informed that from now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant".

Onyeama said it appeared that Nigerians were being discriminated against at hotels and restaurants and being stigmatised as supposed carriers of COVID-19.

African diplomats in Beijing have met with Chinese foreign ministry officials and "stated in very strong terms their concern and condemnation of the disturbing and humiliating experiences our citizens have been subjected to", Sierra Leone's embassy in Beijing said in a statement Friday, adding that 14 citizens had been put into compulsory 14-day quarantine. Many African traders buy and sell goods in Guangzhou, which has a large African community, BBC reported.

The United States in recent years has seen its clout in Africa wane as China has thrown open the credit spigot, providing billions in loans for Chinese-made infrastructure projects.

On Saturday, an alert was issued by Guangzhou's US consulate advising African-Americans against travelling to the city because of the ongoing conflict.

Nigeria's speaker for the house of representatives called in the Chinese ambassador to complain in no uncertain terms about the treatment of Nigerians while Ghana's foreign minister described the incidents as "inhumane treatment".

"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", Lijian continued. Of the 25 foreign patients, 19 were from Africa.

"There have been flare-ups over race going back to the 1980s and also Guangzhou, in particular, has always been a hard setting for African migrants in particular", Ryder says. "There were once thought to be hundreds of thousands from the continent conducting business in the city, but today the number has fallen to just thousands", the BBC's correspondent reported.

"So, they put in very, very strict measures to try to contain this outbreak which to them at that time, clearly seemed to have been within that community".

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