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African students decry COVID-19 bias in China

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African countries are boiling over accounts that Africans are battling stigma and discrimination in China over the coronavirus pandemic.

African residents in the southern city of Guangzhou say they have suffered forced evictions, arbitrary quarantines and mass coronavirus tests and face discrimination in restaurants and hotels.

“Those people, like the management or your landlord call you telling you after this contract they cannot give you any contract, you have to leave the house. You tell them why? They say it’s the government that gives them pressure to not let black people live in their houses,” said Mohammed, a Guinean student in Guangzhou.

He added that Africans are still treated differently, even with a clean health bill from local authorities.

Those people, like the management or your landlord call you telling you after this contract they cannot give you any contract, you have to leave the house. You tell them why? They say it’s the government that gives them pressure to not let black people live in their houses.

“But the problem is not the paper (document from local authorities stating that the bearer is not infected with coronavirus), it’s people’s minds. Because when you go out, before seeing the paper when someone sees you they will run away from you.”

On Saturday, the African Union expressed its “extreme concern” about the situation in Guangzhou and called on Beijing to take immediate corrective measures.

As international pressure mounted, the foreign ministry in Beijing issued a statement on Sunday, saying China attached “great importance to the life and health of foreign nationals” and rejected all “racist and discriminatory” remarks.