Africans In China: Social Media Posts Verses Reality

By: Boakai Karllon Wilson | FrontPage Africa

China is a peaceful place where all laws abiding foreigners are treated equally irrespective of race. Regarding the recent allegation that Africans including Liberians are being mistreated, I will like to take this time to relief stress from our family members and friends back home of the scaring information that is flying all on social media regarding the maltreatment of foreigners especially black people in china.

I am presenting doing my master’s in International Education of Chinese Language at the Beijing Language and Cultural University.

Since the outbreak of Covid 19, all students that are on their various universities campuses are safe and no student from any part of China has been reported of any issue with regards to ill-treatment. Since January, all students were mandated not to leave their school’s campuses, and nobody from outside is allow to come in, this was and is a preventive measure to protect students from contacting the virus.

The ministry of Education of China authorized various schools to organize special monitoring unit to check the temperature of each and students every morning and afternoon to ensure that we are safe. Moreover, every student are to report to their various departments and supervisors regarding their daily health status.

Even as that, immediately after the passing of the preventive measure restrictions, there was an instance where two other Liberian students came from Nanjing to Beijing in order to settle an emergency situation relevant to their schooling. They were faced with the situation of finding it difficult to find hotel to stay just for a night.

Fortunately for them, my teacher, who happens to be a friend of those two Liberian students, contacted me. I immediately got in touch with the Liberian Students’ Union of Beijing. Together with my teacher, we managed to negotiate on behalf of those students and they went back safely to their campus at Nanjing and were accepted.

The Chinese are not cruel as social Media is trying to present them.  At present we are taking online classes and busy with our studies. The government of china and the schools are doing extremely well to make sure that food is available at the canteen of every school and even cheaper than normal time.

Though we are hearing about how blacks especially African businessmen and women were facing some difficulties in Guangzhou, however; according to an African business man living in the city said before the borders were closed and flights were stopped from coming into china, some Africans were already in China.

The businessman told us that the Chinese asked them to be quarantined. They were taken to a special hotel by the police. By then, local hotel managements were instructed not to accept any foreigners while quarantine for 14 days was in effect. While the African were there, a team of medics were organized to do their daily temperature testing in case of any symptoms. After 14 days they released to do their normal businesses.

Three to four days before the expiration of the 14 days quarantine period, they discovered that three of our people had the symptoms. They also found out that two of the three people had malaria or typhoid while one person had coronavirus. They wanted to treat the one that had the virus, but he refused and said they wanted to inject him with the virus and kill him.

The Chinese medics told him they just wanted to treat him like they also treated their people, but he refused. Instead, he fought those medical workers, and injured one of the medical workers.  The locals got angry when they heard the story. Because of this, even the chairman of the Nigerian community in China got involved and begged the man to calm down and get treated. The Chinese said that after treating him he would be deported and the Africans agreed.

They started monitoring every foreigner including the blacks to check for the symptoms. They went to places that black people ate. They found a Nigerian called Emeka, who was married to a Chinese woman. The woman cooks food and people had been eating there for weeks. They found out that the woman went to her village and came back with the virus. The woman didn’t self-isolate for 14 days, but started cooking for people. They also found out that it was mostly black people who patronized the woman. So they shut down everywhere that had predominantly black people in Guangzhou.

The police shut down everywhere the blacks eat in Guangzhou. They rationalized that if it was black people who patronized the woman and she had been serving them for days, some black people would have contracted the virus from the woman. Because of that, they asked those people who had been in isolation to remain indoors until they sort out the issue with this woman and the people she came in contact with.

All these things only happened in Guangzhou, but people made it sound like it was happening in the entire China.

They got health workers to move from house to house to check people and run some tests. As they do the tests on a person, the medics will ask you to wait for 24 hours, and after 24 hours, if the test proves negative; you will be issue a card to be able to go out.  The card is what you will use to go about your normal business. 

These people were asked to stay indoors until the tests had been done for everybody so that they could figure out those who had it and those who didn’t have it, but they refused. They said they had been isolated for 14 days, so why should they be asked to stay inside for additional days. They all defied the orders and went out; they all gathered and started making noise.

Now, the law that was given to all the hotels was not to allow any foreigners except for one hotel. That one Hotel was also instructed not to let anybody out or in.  When they wanted to go into the markets, they were asked to show their cards because the locals had been told to always ask for cards to know those who had been tested.

So, when they didn’t show their cards, they were not allowed into the markets, and when they got back to the hotel, the management refused to let them in because that was the instruction given by the police. Then they started the story that black people were being chased out of their apartments and hotels and asked to go home.

For those of us here, we were isolated, tested and issued our cards before we were able to move around. But people coming in want to move around without testing, and it’s not good for the people who are already here. That’s what they were trying to sort out, but our people didn’t understand this, and it caused problems after they defied the authority and started causing troubles.

The police were checking every home to ensure people are home. For those who defy this regulation and left their homes return and found their houses were lock up, everyone was asked to stay at home for testing.  Those who went against the law the law went against them, now they are the people crying out that they were thrown out of home.

When they asked us to stay indoors, I stayed in for a month and two weeks. I didn’t step out. Today no one has evicted me from my house, and no one has asked me not to come in.

Even when I resumed my trading business, I did that for one month, and they called me again, gave me test kits that I had to use every day to check myself for 14 days. I did that and showed them the results”.

In conclusion, we are in safe hands. China is a peaceful place for peaceful citizen. China is not discriminating African as the social media is putting it.

Boakai Karllon Wilson is a Liberian student studying at the Beijing Language and Cultural University in China.