OPINION / OBSERVER
Racist attack on China's COVID-19 measures groundless
Published: Apr 13, 2020 05:33 PM

An Ethiopian Airlines cargo flight filled with medical supplies donated to Africa from the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation arrives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 22. Photo: Xinhua

African Americans are being hit hardest by COVID-19, according to a Guardian analysis of several southern states of the US. Yet some Western politicians have maliciously attacked China's strict anti-virus measures on all foreigners, that in no way specifically apply to Africans. 

Reports of alleged forced testing, quarantine and maltreatment of African nationals in China, particularly in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, have been maliciously hyped that Africans residing in China are facing discrimination. African countries and their nationals in China need not panic or overact to such reports that have been exaggerated by certain forces in the US to sow discord between African countries and China during the coronavirus pandemic. Chinese people have been victimized by racism since the start of the global health crisis, and the last thing they would do is treat others in that manner.  

However, there have been some unpleasant incidents. According to Guangzhou police, a Nigerian COVID-19 patient attacked a Chinese nurse who tried to stop him from leaving an isolation ward at a local hospital on April 1. Some African residents have also complained that they were subject to compulsory 14-day quarantine and tested for coronavirus several times. 

China's strict prevention and control measures against imported cases of COVID-19 do not target any nationality or race. Facing mounting pressure to curb imported infections, China has scaled up preventative measures. Travelers from all countries must undergo a 14-day compulsory quarantine and receive tests. Control measures in northeast China are even stricter as the region is dealing with more imported cases coming from Russia.

Africans account for a large share of the foreigners now living in Guangzhou. As of Saturday, of the 119 confirmed cases that were brought to Guangzhou by international travelers, 19 were from African countries. Like all travelers coming to China and foreign residents, African nationals in China must comply with China's tough measures to contain the coronavirus. 

How is that China has successfully brought the epidemic under control in two months while the US and many European countries have been mired in the pandemic for weeks still with no sign of reaching a peak? China has decisively enforced sweeping quarantine measures across the country from the onset and the Chinese people have been cooperative toward these measures, sacrificing their freedom of movement and bearing inconveniences in order to achieve a quick end to the outbreak. 

Even today as the coronavirus outbreak subsides in the country, Chinese people still strictly abide by prevention and control measures. They comply with requirements to have their temperature checked before entering their communities, supermarkets, restaurants and offices. They undergo quarantine if they are required to. 

Foreigners won't be exempted from China's prevention and control regulations and they are subject to punishment if they break the rule, just like Chinese people. As China still faces challenges in dealing with imported infections and concerns are rising that Africa might become the third epicenter of the pandemic, China will insist on treating all inbound foreigners exactly the same and is more than willing to share its experience and expertise in this regard with its African partners. 

Any claim that suggests requiring Africans to cooperate with China's anti-virus work is unfair treatment or discrimination is a trap set by some Western media and politicians who intend to drive a wedge between China and Africa. China-Africa relations and time-tested friendship between the two sides won't be disrupted by some malicious hype. 


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