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Beijing Faces a Diplomatic Crisis in Africa

A senior Chinese official has acknowledged accusations of authorities discriminating against black people in the city of Guangzhou as “reasonable concerns”. Amid an increased focus on people with coronavirus arriving in mainland China from abroad, health authorities in Guangzhou have been accused of racially targeting Africans, including with forced evictions, repeated testing for Covid-19 without providing the result, and refusing service or business. Tony Mathias, an exchange student from Uganda, told AFP he was forced from his apartment. Thiam, an exchange student from Guinea, said: “All the people I’ve seen tested are Africans. Chinese are walking around freely but if you’re black you can’t go out.” The south-eastern city is known for its African community but also has a troubled history of discrimination, and the wave of allegations – accompanied by videos and photographs on social media – have drawn strong rebuke from the international community. On Saturday a group of African ambassadors in Beijing wrote to the state councillor, Wang Yi, the Chinese government’s top diplomat, “Immediately demand[ing] the cessation of forceful testing, quarantine, and other inhuman treatments meted out to Africans”.