Members of the African community in Guangzhou are outraged after a city-wide crackdown that began Tuesday saw many getting thrown out of their apartments by landlords and hotel rooms that they paid for.
— Olúyẹmí Fásípè 🇳🇬 (@YemieFash) April 9, 2020
Many say they have had their passports seized by officials, evicted and put under forced quarantine even after completing a 14-day self-isolation period.
Here is another video from China. The China authorities are kicking Nigerians and other blacks out of their houses and seizing their passports. Have you seen this @abikedabiri? #ChinaMustExplain pic.twitter.com/xWvVuVI8uu
— Olúyẹmí Fásípè 🇳🇬 (@YemieFash) April 8, 2020
With nowhere to go and no hotel willing to accomodate them, scores have been wandering aimlessly on the streets for the last two days with their personal belongings, and sleeping rough at night.
Many turned to social media to share their experiences with families and friends back home.
From having an apartment to becoming refugees overnight. This is what is happening to many blacks in Guangzhou,China. Being kicked out of their homes for now reason except their skin color @UN_PGA @UNHumanRights @KenRoth @UNReliefChief @hrw pic.twitter.com/JzjfMXU5bM
— Khalil☤ (@Khalolok) April 9, 2020
This are apparently Kenyans on the streets in Guangzhou, we need our people back, it's this bad #SingleLadiesChallenge #SingleGuysChallenge #COVID19
Retweet this it couldve been you pic.twitter.com/h2bvHNF8Xh
— Dollar (@OnyiDolla) April 8, 2020
Protesting the discriminatory treatment of his fellow countrypeople, an exasperated diplomat from the Nigerian consulate-general in Guangzhou reminded his Chinese counterpart that the novel coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, and not from the foreign community.
“How do you know that?” retorted the Chinese official. “Are you sure it’s from Wuhan?”
“Even the scientists and professors didn’t say it’s from Wuhan, and you’re the expert?”
The diplomat further pressed on, asking why members of the Nigerian community had to be evicted when many of them had been in Guangzhou from before the start of the outbreak and had not left the city at any time.
He said he had no issue with a 14-day isolation period for Nigerian businesspeople who had just arrived in the city, but to arbitrarily force people into another 14-day quarantine was “unacceptable”.
Nigerian diplomat verbally confronts Chinese authorities for ill treatment of Nigerians in Guangzhou and for seizure of their international passports. pic.twitter.com/Er4xesbVgD
— Sαмѕση σ Bαηкσlє (@psalmloko) April 9, 2020
He also complained about the discriminatory treatment of Nigerian nationals, telling the Chinese official that if a city-wide shutdown was called for, one that included also Chinese nationals, “the issue of discrimination would not be there”.
Expressing displeasure that many had to experience the indignity of having their passports confiscated, he told his Chinese counterpart that “in line with international practice, no country has the right to seize the passport of another country.
Later, the diplomat took matters into his own hands by snatching the passports back from health workers in hazmat suits.
A successful retrieval of the Nigerian passports held by the Guangzhou local authorities and police by the consulate general of the Nigerian consulate in Guangzhou. pic.twitter.com/JntKEgm5yS
— Mazi Okechukwu (@kenterprenuer) April 9, 2020
Community leaders at the All African Association of Guangzhou have written an open letter, calling on authorities to end the “the inhuman treatment, hatred, and outright discrimination of Africans that is currently going on in Guangzhou”, the BBC reported.
“About 10 African community leaders in Guangzhou are technically under house arrest using the term quarantine,” the letter read. “These actions are difficult to comprehend when you consider the fact that these are people whose official test results came back negative just one or two days ago.”
In response to the uproar, Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister Geoffrey Onyeama summoned the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, to communicate the “extreme concern” of his government at reports of the maltreatment of Nigerians in Guangzhou, and to call for the immediate intervention of the Chinese government.
Invited the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Zhou Pingjian to communicate @NigeriaGov's extreme concern at allegations of maltreatment of Nigerians in Guangzhou, #China and called for immediate Chinese Govt. intervention. 🇳🇬🇨🇳#StayHomeSaveLives #COVID19 @DigiCommsNG @NigeriaMFA pic.twitter.com/OXhbkXoQWf
— Geoffrey Onyeama (@GeoffreyOnyeama) April 9, 2020
As part of China’s wider coronavirus diplomacy efforts, a team of 15 Chinese medical doctors arrived Wednesday, bringing with them ventilators, personal protective equipment and testing kits.
The move by Nigeria’s federal government to roll out the red carpet for the Chinese medical team has been panned by a wide cross section of society.
– 15 Chinese doctors arrive Nigeria to help in the fight against COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/TiPq2P8U2i
— Postsubman (@Postsubman) April 8, 2020
The Nigerian Medical Association said in a statement that it was a “thing of embarrassment” that health workers were fighting against Covid-19 “under deplorable working conditions” only to be “subjected to the ignominy of not being carried along in arriving at such a decision.”
The statement added that the Chinese are “not out of the woods themselves” and that “the spike in cases and the death toll from Covid-19 in Italy coincided with the arrival of the Chinese in the guise of offering assistance”.
Leading televangelist Suleman Johnson asked why China wasn’t sending its doctors to Europe or America instead. “I hope there is no underlining agenda,” he said. “Anything China does is for their profit.”
The self-proclaimed “apostle” was responding to online chatter that the Chinese medical team would be using Nigerians as guinea pigs for their new vaccines, leading to a worsening of the pandemic in the country.
What's this talk of chinese doctors coming to treat people in nigeria?..why are they not in america or europe?..the urgency is more there..I hope there is no underlining agenda..anything China does,is for their profit..i just hope it's a wrong information…
— Apst Johnson Suleman (@APOSTLESULEMAN) April 8, 2020
In a poll conducted by the Daily Trust newspaper, 60% of respondents said they were against the move to bring Chinese doctors in the fight against Covid-19.
Are you in support of FG's move to bring Chinese doctors in the fight against Covid-19 in Nigeria?
— Daily Trust (@daily_trust) April 8, 2020