Africans have become targets of suspicion, distrust and racism in China and now authorities have ordered bars and restaurants not to serve clients who appear to be of African origin according to Nairobi news.
This comes after China reported on Saturday a rise in new coronavirus cases, as authorities try to deal with a second wave of infections, particularly from imported and asymptomatic cases, as limits on cities and travel are lifted.
Discrimination has been so severe that the US State Department issued new advice recommending African-Americans and their contacts “to avoid the Guangzhou metropolitan area until further notice.”
The rise in cases from abroad has spurred authorities in the southern city of Guangzhou to step up scrutiny of foreigners, ordering bars and restaurants not to serve clients who appear to be of African origin, the city’s US consulate said.
“Anyone with ‘African contacts’ faces mandatory virus tests followed by quarantine, regardless of recent travel history or previous isolation,” the statement said.
According to authorities, Guangzhou had confirmed 114 imported coronavirus cases as of Thursday, 16 of which were Africans. The rest were returning Chinese nationals.
This has led to Africans been evicted from their homes by landlords and turned away from hotels in the southern Chinese city, despite many claiming to have no recent travel history or known contact with Covid-19 patients.
China has also banned foreign nationals from entering the country and many travellers are being sent into 14-day quarantines either in their own accommodation or at centralised facilities.
The infections in Guangzhou have sparked a torrent of abuse online, with many Chinese Internet users posting racist comments and calling for all Africans to be deported.
Earlier this week, images began circulating online of rows of Africans sleeping on the streets of Guangzhou, beside their luggage, having either been evicted from their apartments or been turned away from hotels due to COVID-19 fears. Other videos showed police harassing Africans on the street.
Those evicted say they are being discriminated against.
“They are accusing us of having the virus,” said Tobenna Victor, a Nigerian student in Guangzhou.
“We paid rent to them and after collecting rent they chased us out of the house. Since last night we have been sleeping outside.”
Some residents revealed that they have been evicted from their apartments, others say that they have been put into forced quarantine without knowing the results of their tests.
On Tuesday, Chinese officials denied online rumours that the virus was spreading in African communities and that parts of the city where Africans reside were under lockdown.
Guangzhou is home to one of China’s largest African communities and has become a hub for African traders buying and selling goods to the continent.
There are rising concerns in China over the increase in number of imported Covid-19 cases, which authorities fear could fuel a second outbreak.