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Stop forceful COVID-19 tests, inhumane actions against our nationals, African envoys in China demand in protest letter

THE African Group of Ambassadors in Beijing are calling for an immediate halt to what it described as forceful testing, quarantine among other inhumane treatments meted at African nationals who are resident in China.

The group particularly made reference to viral videos in Guangdong Province, which showed how Africans were discriminated against, forced out of their homes, hotels and denied access to basic amenities.

In a protest letter shared with Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Human Rights Council, Chairperson, African Union Commission, and other relevant bodies, the ambassadors reminded the Chinese authorities of outstanding relationship with the African nations, especially as to helping China secure permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council, aside collaborative effort on the recent Covid-19 disease, yet the human rights violation.

As a result, Mahamat met with Mr. Liu Yuxi, the Chinese Ambassador to the AU to express his concern and need to urgently address the situation.

“We would also want to bring to your attention the possible backlash in our home countries of this obvious human rights violation,” the African envoys’ letter read.

“It is therefore worrisome, following this excellent cooperation and mutual friendship that, the African Group of Ambassadors observes with consternation, the discrimination and stigmatization of Africans whereby they are made to forcefully, and in a very crude manner to undergo epidemic investigation and Nucleic Acid Test, fourteen (14) days quarantine even if they had not travelled outside their jurisdictions, not come into contact with infected persons, not had close contact or showing any symptoms of the COVID-19.”

It could be recalled that Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives had summoned the Chinese Ambassador in Nigeria over the same viral video which revealed seizure of Nigerian passports from the Nigerian citizens among other concerns.

During the meeting, the Chinese envoy in Nigeria claimed to be ignorant of the development but promised to contact the home office to verify the allegation.

However, the group of African envoys in China urged the Chinese government to apply similar treatment it would accord to its citizens to Africans in the Chinese territory.

“The Group of African Ambassadors in Beijing immediately demands the cessation of forceful testing, quarantine and other inhuman treatments meted out to Africans in Guangdong Province in particular and the whole of China and also demands that Africans are treated the same as Chinese and other nationals in the fight against COVID-19.”

Other notable concerns expressed by the African ambassadors include:

  • African nationals ejected including Togolese, Nigerians, and Benenois from their hotels in the middle of the night only because they are Africans;
  • A group of African students studying in Sun-Yat Sen University in Guangzhou were made to undergo the Nucleic Acid Test, in spite of the fact that they had no travel history within the stated period.
  • Selective testing of African students while their non-African colleagues are left out.
  • There were cases of African men married to Chinese ladies and they were demanded to take the COVID-19 test and their Chinese families left out. In some cases the men were pulled out of their families and quarantined in hotels alone.
  • Forced evictions of Africans from their various apartments and thrown into the streets even those with infant children.
  • Seizure of passports of African nationals in violation of international practices and conventions
  • Persistent harassment and humiliation of African nationals by subjecting them to unwarranted medical examinations after testing negative for the COVID-19, and forced into quarantine, irrespective of their negative status;
  • Threats of revocation of visas, arrest, detention and deportation of African legal migrants for no cogent reason which infringes on their human rights.

“From the foregoing the impression is being created as though the spread of the virus is caused by Africans contrary to the fact that, in China and indeed globally, Africans are the least exposed to Covid-19 or is there any other reason for which Africans are being targeted other than Covid- 19 that we are unaware of?” it stated.

However, the coalition renewed commitment with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and the International Department of the Communist Party of China.

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