COVID-19 pandemic mars cordial Africa-China ties

African countries frown at China's alleged racism of blacks in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China.

African countries frown at China’s alleged racism of blacks in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China.

by SAVIOUS KWINIKA 
PRETORIA, (CAJ News) ALLEGATIONS of discrimination against African nationals in China represents the lowest point in the longstanding ties between the global powerhouse and Africa.

The alleged discrimination in the southern province of Guangdong is the latest in some global fallouts emanating from the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that was first detected in China at the end of last year.

There have been allegations of Africans, particularly those living in the provincial capital of Guangzhou, being evicted from their homes and refused entry to restaurants as part of measures aimed at curbing the resurgent COVID-19.

While there has been a reduction in the Asian country, cases are escalating in Africa, hence fears of the importation of the virus from that continent.

Some alleged being forced into quarantine.

This has sparked protests from African governments.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission recently summoned Chinese Ambassador to the AU, Liu Yuxi, to express “extreme concern” at the allegations.

He called for immediate remedial measures in line with relations between China, which he termed as excellent relations.

This is a dent to the relations that date back to Africa’s struggles for independence and have continued in recent years with China surpassing the United States in 2009 to become the largest trading partner of Africa.

Amid the threat of the relations becoming toxic, China has stepped in to assure the continent of its commitment to the ties with Africa.

“The Chinese government’s position is firm, clear and consistent, i.e. all foreign nationals in China are treated equally. China rejects any differential treatment to them, and has zero tolerance for discrimination in any form,” read a statement from the Chinese Embassy here in Pretoria.

The embassy assured that the Guangdong authorities attached great importance to some African countries’ concerns and were working promptly to improve their working method.

“The Chinese Foreign Ministry will stay in close communication with the Guangdong authorities and continue responding to the African side’s reasonable concerns and legitimate appeals.”

The embassy stated that while overcoming difficulties at home owing to COVID-19, the country was giving “love and care” to all African citizens in China, especially African students.

China has in recent weeks donated medical supplies to Africa in the latter’s response to the virus.

The second batch of assistance from China was set to arrive in South Africa on Tuesday (April 14).

“We will continue to help our African brothers to the best of our ability, and more assistance from China will come to Africa in coming weeks,” the embassy stated.

Faced with the severe test of epidemics, China and African countries are united more than ever.

The Asian country pointed out mutual help and solidarity is what has defined China-Africa relations over the years.

“It is our strong belief that China-Africa relations are strong and mature enough to withstand any test in times of adversity,” the statement read.

– CAJ News

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