Mmusi Maimane. Photo: Flickr/Liberal International

AU called to step in as concerns over Africans’ treatment in China mount

A group of concerned African politicians has called for an investigation in to claims of xenophobia against the continent’s nationals in China.


Mmusi Maimane. Photo: Flickr/Liberal International

A number of politicians across the continent have issued out a call to the African Union(AU) to intervene on the discrimination faced by Africans currently in China in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

AU chair, Cyril Ramaphosa has been inundated with calls from the likes of former Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, Uganda’s Bobi Wine and Zimbabwe’s Nelson Chamisa.

African nationals in China issue out call for help

This comes after several Africans living and studying in China lamented abuse faced at the hands of authorities, with reports of evictions in the city of Guangzhou also emerging.

Maimane took to Twitter on Saturday to highlight the plight faced by African nationals in the People’s Republic.

In a letter signed by Maimane, Chamisa, Wine, Tanzania’s Zitto Kabwe, and Lazarus Chakwena of Malawi, the group called for an investigation of xenophobia claims against Africans.

“Xenophobia in such a time can undercut the disease and significantly destabilise relationships that have been built over the years.

“There have been alarming reports of hundreds of African migrant workers, traders and students in the southern city of Guangzhou, China. This region is home to Asia’s biggest African diaspora.”

China responds to xenophobia claims

Meanwhile, China has refuted claims that African nationals in the country are facing discrimination.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian issued out a statement earlier in the week saying China remains friendly with the continent.

“Our friendship is forged on the basis of joint efforts to seek national independence, liberation, economic development and better livelihood in the past decades,” the statement reads.

“Such time-tested friendship is a treasure for both Chinese and African people. Humanity shines through the darkness of the epidemic. After the Ebola epidemics broke out in three West African countries in 2014, the Chinese government provided assistance at the earliest time possible and fought side by side with the African countries and people. Now faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Africa are again tiding over difficulties hand in hand, and our friendship is again elevated. We will not forget the support from Africa during our most difficult times. While overcoming difficulties at home, we also give love and care to all African citizens in China, especially African students.”