Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the Chinese government to end the alleged discriminatory treatment of African nationals amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Human Rights Watch says Chinese authorities in Guangdong province last month began a campaign to forcibly test African nationals for the coronavirus, and ordered them to self-isolate or to quarantine in designated hotels.

Landlords then reportedly evicted African residents, forcing many to sleep on the streets – with hotels, shops, and restaurants refusing to assist African customers.

A US-Chinese researcher at HRW, Yaqiu Wang, says despite all foreigners being required to test for the virus in China – there is no need for discrimination against African nationals.

“The government on April 12th announced that all foreigners must accept COVID-19 prevention and containment measures including testing under quarantine. However, only Africans are targeted for testing and quarantines and nobody has been given a reason why they are doing that. A lot of Africans have already tested negative and they had not traveled out of the city or been in contact with people who are infected. So this practice by the government is discriminatory and it is not science-based.”

Politicians appeal to AU

In mid-April politicians from five African countries called for an African Union (AU) investigation into claims of discrimination and abuse against African migrants in China.

The group has written an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa in his capacity as the AU Chairperson.

It includes South Africa’s Mmusi Maimane, Uganda’s Bobi Wine; born Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, and Zimbabwe’s Nelson Chamisa.
Maimane says a continental response to the matter is needed.

Maimane says a continental response to the matter is needed.

Maimane said that the Presidency has acknowledged receipt of the letter via email.

In the video below alleged discrimination against Africans in China is in the spotlight