For Africans living in the Middle Kingdom, the Chinese Dream is turning into a nightmare as they face increasing legal and economic discrimination.
Equality is a concept that apparently doesn’t apply to Africans living in China. While Chinese companies are
plundering helping Africa develop and 1 million Chinese migrants enjoy great economic opportunities in countries like Nigeria and Kenya, Africans that have emigrated to China tell a totally different story. Al Jazeera reports:
There are an estimated 200,000 Africans in the megacity of Guangzhou, which has the largest concentration of African migrants in Asia. Unlike Chinese contractors in Africa, these migrants often go to China without the backing of a corporation or their home country. Legally, they are not able to buy land, open a shop, seek employment or start a factory in China. In order to engage in any commercial activity, many African migrants marry a Chinese wife and register their business in her name, while those with the financial capacity can open a representative office of a Hong Kong-registered firm.
Because of these constraints, many African migrants engage in export trading: They buy Chinese goods such as mobile phones, garments and construction materials in large quantities from Chinese wholesalers and ship them to their home countries […].
Malian-born Cellou Toure is a successful trader who, despite being married to a Chinese national, could not obtain a permanent residence visa. The father of three Malian-Chinese children, he is trilingual (speaking Mandarin, French and English) and holds a university degree, as do 40 percent of African migrants in Guangzhou, according to professor Adams Bodomo’s 2012 book, “Africans in China.” “If I took my wife to Mali, she would get a passport,” Toure said in an interview earlier this year.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Last year, China passed the Exit-Entry Administration Law, which Africans thought would facilitate the immigration processes by abolishing the mandatory short-term visa renewals. But this was not what the Chinese authorities had in mind. The new law made everything more complicated: African migrants must now go to their home countries (instead of Hong Kong or Macau) to renew their temporary visas.
To make things worse, the government is trying to conceal this nasty truth. State-owned newspapers were told to report only the successful stories of African businessmen in China.
But despite China’s attempts to blur it, the message seems clear: Africans are essentially not welcome in the Middle Kingdom!
Discrimination against Africans isn’t limited to government initiatives either. Two years ago, a Nigerian man was beaten to death by a Chinese mob after a traffic altercation, and during the Beijing Olympics several bars infamously refused black people service.
By Aliaume Leroy