China Rejects Alleged Mistreatment of Africans in Guangzhou

China rejected criticism about the alleged mistreatment of Africans by authorities tackling the coronavirus in the southern city of Guangzhou.

The government has treated foreigners equally and attaches great importance to their life and health, spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a statementposted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs late Sunday night. “We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination,” Zhao said.

African leaders alleged discrimination against their citizens by city authorities in measures to stem the spread of imported coronavirus cases. They said Africans were mistreated, evicted from hotels, and forcefully tested for the virus.

African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat expressed “extreme concern” to Chinese Ambassador Liu Yuxi about “allegations of maltreatment of Africans” in Guangzhou. In a tweet Saturday, he said the African Group in Beijing was engaging with the Chinese government.

According to an unverified notepublished on the internet, a group of African ambassadors in Beijing called Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to halt “forceful testing and quarantine and maltreatment of African Nationals in China and in Guangdong Province in particular.” The letter was copied to the chair of the African Union and African foreign ministers.

China and Africa are “good friends, partners and brothers,” Zhao said in the statement Sunday, hailing the decades-long friendship as “time-tested,” and adding that China had provided medical assistance and donated essential supplies to help African countries fight Covid-19.

Guangdong authorities will improve their health management services, such as designating hotels for medical observations, adjusting prices for those in financial difficulties and setting up effective communication mechanisms, Zhao said.

Guangzhou has confirmed a total of 119 imported cases of Covid-19, with 25 being foreign nationals, Mayor Wen Guohui told a news conference on Sunday. He said the Guangzhou government has treated all foreigners equally.

“Guangzhou is an open-minded metropolis,” Wen said. “It’s our consistent principle to have zero tolerance for discriminatory comments and behavior.”

— With assistance by Sharon Chen, and Jing Li

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