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Ghanaians living in China Expains how Their being avoided in major cities amid coronavirus fear -Screenshot

Africans in China are reportedly being avoided in the major cities of China amid fears they may be spreading the COVID-19 infection.

Three Ghanaian students, living in Beijing and Chengdu, have given troubling accounts of how foreigners, especially Blacks are now at the receiving end of xenophobic attacks in the Asian city, especially in the cities of Guangzhou and Beijing.

While some are allegedly being evicted from their places of residence, others are being shunned and avoided by the Chinese community and others being forced to take COVID-19 tests, though they have no travel history for the past three months or come into contact with a COVID-19 patient.

Joel Asante Baafi, a married man with a daughter, living in the heart of Beijing city, told ABC News in an exclusive interview on Friday, April 10, 2020, that he was evicted from his residence at around 6 am on Thursday by ten (10) Chinese policemen whose only explanation to them [Joel and his family] was that they want to protect Beijing from getting the COVID-19 through the foreigners living there.

According to him, no test was conducted. Whether on him, his wife or his 4-year-old daughter to indeed prove that he had the virus before the said action was taken against them at the crack of dawn.

“What happened was that we were sleeping and we heard Police officers knocking on our door around 5:30 to 6 am, I opened the door and I saw about 10 policemen, some were in Uniform, some were in mufti and they entered and asked me of my passport. My wife was sleeping, she woke up and I showed the passport to them and they said because of the virus, foreigners are not allowed to stay in this community so we should leave the apartment.”

“I thought when they said we should leave, they were going to give us some time to prepare and move out or they’re going to move us to a different location where maybe Blacks are staying but no, they said we should leave now. I have a four-year-old daughter with me and I was expecting them to look at the child and say because I am a family man, they will give me some days to evacuate. But they made us pack everything that belongs to us to the corridor and we took everything downstairs and called a truck which took our belongings to the entrance of the community and they told the guard never to allow us back.”

“They were saying that they have been able to deal with the virus and foreigners are the ones living with the virus so they don’t want us in that community and so I should move out, they didn’t even check my temperature, neither did they check that of my wife and my child, no test was performed for them to see that we had the virus. It started last two months, some guys were also evicted the same way, I thought they had done something but apparently, it was the same issue, they went there and evicted them from their apartment so that is the situation,” he told ABC News.

For now, Joel says he “called my embassy, I took my things to them so my belongings are still with the embassy and called some of my friends so I’m living with them for now.”

He explains that the situation in the Asian city has nothing to do with “whether you have resident permit or passport or anything.”

Another resident, a student who only wishes to be identified as Robert also gave his account.

According to Robert, in Chengdu where he resides, the situation is not as dire but Blacks are generally being treated as plaques.

“Currently, in Chengdu, there’s nothing like that, they are not evicting foreigners. As of now, it is going on in Guangzhou and Beijing. Apart from these two cities, what is happening in other cities is that when you go out, once you are black, you’re not allowed to enter certain places, some big shops have notification that foreigners are not allowed. The whole thing is they made everything look indirect but once you are black, you are the target. With my stay here, I think they have a way of dealing with Americans and the Blacks. There are general restrictions of all foreigners but you can see that the major hit is the blacks.”

“Yesterday I went to one of the big malls in my city, I went there and as I got there, I took a basket to shop and then I saw two Chinese ladies coming and when they saw me they started running from me and I was shocked. We were supposed to walk in the same lane and bypass them and make their payment but upon sighting me, they started running off so I got pissed off but I didn’t understand the Chinese very well so I couldn’t do anything,” he told ABC News.

Beyond the fear that Africans are likely to spread the virus in China, Robert gave a different explanation as to why he believes perhaps blacks are being treated in this manner.

“The thing is borne out of the meaning of the name African here, when you are called African, in their language it means a dirty person or a sick person so most of us don’t want to be called Africans because of our understanding of the name African. So the fact that they see you to be black and knowing that the sickness getting to that part of the world, they try to shun away and even if you sit in the car, nobody wants to sit close to you, they avoid you,” he added.

Giving a background detail to what is currently going on in China, Robert said this all started when news reached China that the COVID-19 infection has started spreading to most African countries.

Following the spread of the virus, China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry sent a circular to all Ghanaian residents who had travelled out of the country before the 28th of March, to not return until they are told to do so.

“After the COVID-19 started spreading to the countries outside China, the notice they gave to us was that if you’re a student or a worker and you’ve gone back to your country, don’t return. The schools have political offices so whatever decision the schools take is from the Government. So they gave us notification that we have to make sure that if you have travelled you don’t return.”

“Prior to the 28th of March, their Foreign Affairs sent the notice that if you have exited China, whether you have a resident permit or not, don’t come back. Prior to that the sickness [COVID-19], hasn’t gotten to some parts of Africa, the situation wasn’t that severe so they were quite comfortable with some of us but when it got to Africa and the report came that it has infected some Africans, everything changed,” Robert explained.

Though Robert has not been in touch with the embassy, he had this to say about how the situation is being handled, “Yesterday, one of my friends called Jab got evicted from his house. Even though yesterday he got some assistance from the embassy, I think they are doing PRO job, from what I have seen, they are not doing a very good job,” he indicated.

These residents are calling on the Ghanaian government to begin some discussion on the matter and immediately see to it that the matter is resolved.

ABC News tried getting in touch with Ghana’s Embassy in China but is yet to receive any feedback on what is going on in the Asian city.



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