As reports fill our newsfeeds about the bigotry and discrimination Asian people are facing amid the coronavirus outbreak, in China, African residents are alleging anti-black racism resulting from the pandemic.
The Washington Post reports that Africans living in the Chinese city of Guangzhou—home to the largest African diaspora population in Asia—say they have been experiencing myriad instances of racism and xenophobia, including evictions from their apartments, refusals of entry into restaurants, and forced quarantine regardless of whether or not they have tested positive for the virus or traveled to China from other countries.
“People are not happy because they’re being forced out of their apartments and into hotels where they have to pay [$30] a night for 28 days,” Maximus Ogbonna, the president of a Nigerian community group in Guangzhou, said.
From the Post:
Ogbonna is in a quarantine — for a second time — in his apartment, with a camera installed over the door so police can monitor him. He completed a 14-day quarantine in March after returning from Nigeria but was told by local officials on April 8 that he had to do another 14 days in isolation, although he had tested negative for the virus and had not traveled elsewhere.
The focus on African residents comes amid broader restrictions on foreigners in China as officials, having curtailed the coronavirus outbreak that began in the central city of Wuhan late last year, grow concerned about a second wave of infections from abroad.
But precaution is no excuse for brazen discrimination; especially when around 90 percent of new coronavirus cases in China have been Chinese citizens coming home from countries like Italy, Russia, Iran and the U.S., according to the Post.
Yet, videos of Africans being led through Guangzhou by Chinese police officers in full riot gear and Nigerian diplomats delivering food in the pouring rain to Africans who have been put out on the street are being posted to social media, showing the world how badly black people are being treated in the region.
And in case you’re thinking, “Hey wait, we don’t know that this has anything to do with race,” a recent video shows an employee at a McDonald’s in Guangzhou holding up a sign that says, “from now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant.”
Regina Hui, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s China issued an apology for the incident, saying, “McDonald’s China apologizes unreservedly to the individual and our customers,” adding that the restaurant has been ordered to end any discriminatory practices.
Things are apparently so bad that black Americans are being urged to steer clear of the region.
These incidents prompted the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou to warn African Americans about discrimination. Police had ordered bars and restaurants not to serve clients who appear to be of African origin, it wrote in an advisory to Americans in China. Local officials were implementing mandatory coronavirus tests followed by mandatory self-quarantine “for anyone with ‘African contacts,’ regardless of recent travel history or previous quarantine completion,” the consulate wrote.
The lesson to be learned here is simple: Racism sucks...for everyone.