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Racism in China: mistreated, abused and evicted for being black

Image taken by the observer France.

For many years, Africans have gone through many types of abuse: slavery, racism, homophobia, and rejection. I always ask myself what is it that we Africans have done to deserve all this?

Even though Africans are welcoming, loving, and friendly, they never receive the same act of kindness in return. I am not going to count and tell you how many times in the history of the world Africans have been treated like animals. However, I am going to remind you of a few recent events you might be aware of (or may be not).

Before yesterday, it was people from Dubai abusing African workers like animals, sexually abusing girl and women workers, torturing others, and using them as toys or pets. Yesterday, African migrants in search of opportunity were being rejected in Europe and watching them perish in the Mediterranean Sea like animals. Today, again in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Africans residing in China have been treated like animals.

In case you did not know, there are more than 1 million Chinese citizens living in Africa. They are settled, respected, and doing lots of business as usual. No one has ever questioned them, killed them, chased them away, or discriminated against them. In contrary, they live like kings and queens, exploiting Africans in Africa.

In return of the welcoming spirit that Africa offers them, here are few of the numerous abuses to Africans living in China:

  • African nationals ejected from their hotels and apartments in the middle of the night. Including Congolese, Togolese, Nigerians, Benenois, Kenyans, Ghanaians, and Ugandans to name a few, even African Americans were kick out because they are black.

  • A group of African students studying in Sun-Yat Sen University in Guangzhou were forcefully made to undergo the Nucleic Acid Test, in spite of the fact that they had no travel history within the stated period.

  • Selective testing of African students while their non-African colleagues are left out.

  • There were cases of African men married to Chinese ladies and they were demanded to take the COVID-19 test, but their Chinese wives and children left out. In some cases the men were pulled out of their families and quarantined in hotels alone.

  • Forced evictions of Africans from their various apartments and thrown into the streets even those with infant children.

  • Seized passports of African nationals! A violation of international practices and conventions.

  • Persistent harassment and humiliation of African nationals by subjecting them to unwarranted medical examinations after testing negative for the COVID-19, and forced into quarantine, irrespective of their negative status.

  • Threats of revocation of visas, arrest, detention and deportation of African legal migrants for no reason, infringing on their human rights.

Image by Artist Tetteh Ackwerch

Meanwhile, even after the pandemic in China, Africans were still receiving Chinese on their continent. What if they were the ones who spread the virus in Africa? That is where it started. Africans didn’t seem to care, but somehow Chinese seemed to go after Africans for no reason. Except, maybe, for being black.

Some activists and a few African leaders have condemned these acts, but no tangible actions have been taken. Few people are talking about it. The media is quiet as if nothing is happening. This remind me how a few weeks ago people were calling or referring to COVID-19 as a "Chinese" virus. Media and the mainstream were vocal about it. Now the same people are abusing others but it's treated like business as usual.

I don't think China will stop mistreating Africans just because some African leaders and activists have spoken out. Just the idea of making the decision to abuse Africans shows how much they don't care. It's unlikely they would care considering they already own most of Africa. It's like a relationship between a slave and a master. With the China Africa Development Funds (CADFund) that China invested in Africa, many African leaders are like subjects to China. No matter what the master does to you or your family, you have no power against him.

With the recent Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) according to Africa news and other sources, "In 2015 China promised $60 billion in financial support to Africa."

The support will be provided in the form of government assistance as well as investment and financing by financial institutions and companies. China will also expand its imports to Africa, especially for non-resources products, and will facilitate African financial institution bond issuances in China.

This is where I believe Africa is lacking strong leadership and strong governments to be able to protect its people inside or outside the country.

With all the natural resources in D.R. Congo, oil in Nigeria, diamonds and gold in South Africa, why do African leaders need to borrow money from foreign countries? Well you can answer that yourself. However, as long as Africans will continue relying on "western" donors, humanitarian support, and Chinese business interests instead of creating their own strong economy, Africans will continue to suffer inside and outside their continent.

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