After Kenya, Nigeria is evacuating its citizens from China over abusive treatment with demands for compensation from Beijing over rights violations
By Amos Fofung
Sino – African relations are headed for a show down after shockingly shabby treatment of Africans continue to surface in various Chinese cities. On the heels of protest letters by African Ambassadors to the Chinese authorities more and more African nations are stepping up to evacuate its citizens from China after videos went viral on the internet showing abusive and inhumane treatment on African students, and diplomats by Chinese forces of law and order and its citizens.
Days after Kenya announced it was flying its citizens from China, the federal government of Nigeria has cued in to rescue its citizens subjected to gross rights violations from Chinese citizens and forces of law and order.
Beijing has been accused of gross rights violations on Africans in China most of whom are students as the Asian nation fights the coronavirus pandemic which originated from Wuhan, capital of Hubei province.
Disturbing videos and pictures break the internet from China’s southern city of Guangzhou with African students and expatriates subjected to forced coronavirus testing and arbitrary 14-day self-quarantine, regardless of recent travel history, amid heightened fears of imported infections.
Large numbers were left homeless, after being evicted by landlords and rejected by hotels in the city. Gang beatings and refusal to access public structures and restaurants by Africans have cause a diplomatic stair between China and African states including other Western nations such as the United States, which has condemned the situation in strongest terms.
Having reportedly contained the virus within China, concerns have grown in recent weeks over a so-called second wave, brought into the country by overseas travelers. Racial sentiments continue to grow with Chinese going brutal and blaming the outbreak on African citizens.
In this regard, the Federal Government of Nigeria, Africa’s economic giant, said it would immediately begin the process of evacuating affected persons from China.
The country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the government would ensure compensation for about 100 Nigerians who were evicted from their homes and hotels by Chinese officials in Guangzhou.
Addressing journalists in Abuja the minister said he had summoned the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, for the second time in one week.
Onyeama stated that the Nigerian Ambassador to China, Ahmed Jidda, as well as other African ambassadors in China, had met with the Chinese Foreign Ministry and expressed their concerns requesting that China respects the rights and dignity of Africans in Guangdong.
“After we had made a statement in the media, I have continued to receive information from Nigerians in China and I engaged directly with our officials in Guangzhou and people who were on the ground…and I must say that contrary to what we believed, that the situation had stabilized and was fully under control and there were no longer issues, it became apparent that there were still very distressing incidences and that it was almost as if it was an institutional attack on the rights and dignity of Nigerians and Africans there,” Onyeama said adding
“I again, invited today (Friday), the Chinese Ambassador and presented these facts to him. I said ‘look, contrary to what was agreed, promises made and guarantees given, the situation does not seem to have ameliorated and this is totally unacceptable.’
China continues to deny any wrongdoing, stating that there exits no racially-motivated crackdown on Africans even though they exist hard evidence to support the accusation.
The racial attacks on Africans in China continue to raise sentiments across Africa and the diaspora with Africans threatening to retaliate as the incident continues to trend on social media platforms.
George Ayittey, distinguished Ghanaian economist and author cum former professor at America university spoke out against the abusive treatment of Africans in China urging for stringent action and retaliation.
“Afrikaans being humiliated evicted from their homes just because they are Africans. Nigerians being evacuated from China. Africans must fight back. We are mobilizing…” he said on his social media platforms, announcing that possible actions will follow the lock down as he pushes for protest demonstrations before Chinese Embassies in Africa.
He has also joined his voice to those requesting for a boycott of Chinese goods and the repudiation of Africa’s $143bn debt to China among others.