Africans in China Face Homelessness Over Coronavirus Fears

Africans in China Face Homelessness Over Coronavirus Fears

Students and traders are finding themselves homeless.

Published April 13th

Written by Madison J. Gray

African nationals in China have reportedly been the target of coronavirus-related discrimination as the country attempts to contain the spread and avert a second wave. 

CNN reports, African students and expats have been subject to forced testing for coronavirus and 14-day self-quarantining despite their history of travel, or lack thereof. Others are being left homeless as landlords evict them and hotels put them out on the street.

“I don’t know where I will sleep tonight,” a Ghanian says in a video, showing his luggage tossed on the street. “We are Nigerians, Ugandans and Ghanaians; we are stranded now.”

Newspapers and television stations in Africa have reportedly run stories about the mistreatment and a member of parliament in Kenya has called on Chinese nationals to exit the country. 

The Beijing government, however, denies Africans are being treated poorly.

"We are still facing great risks of imported cases and domestic resurgence. Particularly, as the pandemic spreads all over the world, imported cases are causing mounting pressure," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian in a statement. "All foreigners are treated equally. We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination."

The circumstance has apparently become so severe that African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said in Twitter post that he had invited the Chinese ambassador to meet with the AU to discuss what has been happening.

In Guangzhou, which has a large population of African students and traders, many of those who had been left homeless had found places to stay, mostly through using a WeChat messaging to connect them. Others were rounded up and put into quarantine by government officials.

But one volunteer, speaking anonymously to CNN for fear of reprisal, said that happened because the Chinese government “doesn’t want them on the street.”

Photo Credit: Roman Balandin\TASS via Getty Images

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