Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao, former ambassador of the African Union to the United States and the current president of African Diaspora Development Institute today called on President Xi Jinping of China to “make the big boy decision” by addressing the situation of black Africans in China amidst strong allegations of consistent discrimination and racial abuses.
Recent measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 in China has generated widespread systematic racism against Africans across the country; chiefly by the Chinese police. The Chinese city of Guangzhou with a considerable population of African students and businessmen have been the top target.
Videos and images on social media show African students, African community leaders, and businessmen being evicted from Chinese hotels and forced to sleep on the streets, subjected to mandatory quarantine, being beaten and chased on the streets in some instances despite testing negative few days earlier. Local bars and restaurants were reportedly, equally ordered to stop serving “anyone from Africa” with unfounded rumors that, “black people” are the carriers of the deadly Coronavirus.
Despite evidence proving the contrary, the Chinese authorities have come out to deny the “anti-Africans” allegation levied against the Beijing authorities as false.
Addressing the Chinese President through a video that is widely shared on social media, the outspoken Pan Africanist outlined several instances of human rights violations against black Africans currently living in China, which according to her is “unacceptable”.
In a cautious but strongly delivered message, Dr. Arikana reminded President Xi of his crucial role in addressing the current situation of Africans in China, challenging him to make the bold decision expected of him.
“You are sitting in the big boy’s chair…and we are asking you to make the big boy’s decision. We are counting on you to make sure the Africans that are roaming the streets [of China] because they have been evicted from their homes be allowed to go back home” she added.
There are more than 20, 000 Africans in China, nevertheless, Dr Arikana has this to remind President Xi: “May I remind you, we have over ten million Chinese residing in Africa, where we have welcomed them with open arms; we have allowed the Chinese to marry Africans and happily live their lives in our Africa. Why can’t Africans be given the same treatment by your citizens?”
She further argued that; “…What is being done to Africans in China is deplorable and the world cannot stand by and allow it to continue! ….this is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue”.
As tensions grow across the continent over the treatment of Africans in China with several calls for retaliation, Dr Arikana cautioned that the youthful population of African are felled with anger and such treatment of Africans will not be tolerated. “The Africans are not going to tolerate these abuses from Chinese or anybody else for that manner. The African youths are enraged. We are asking when is enough going to be enough.”.. She fumed.
Dr. Arikana was the African Union (AU) Permanent Ambassador in the United States representing the 55 countries of the Union since 2017 until she was controversially dismissed on October 7th, 2019. The reason of her dismissal was not made clear. However, many believe it was motivated by her strong stance against the continued activities of “imperialists” on the continent especially France.
China is one of the major economic partners of the continent running majority of governments’ infrastructural projects which are mostly funded by Beijing itself. We hope the Chinese government pay heed to this strong message and issue the necessary orders for calm to be restored and our long built diplomatic relationship maintained to safeguard their numerous businesses in Africa.