By: Jiang Yi
Some foreign nationals were involved in the COVID-19 epidemic control work in Guangzhou. There were some friction and misunderstanding between Africans and Chinese people, including epidemic control personnel. In this regard, officials in some countries such as Nigeria expressed their concern and dissatisfaction and so did the African Union. The US government and media engaged in hyping up relevant issues, spreading false information and trying their best to cause alienation between China and Africa.
At this critical moment of the global fight against the pandemic, China is under great pressure to prevent the coronavirus from entering the country. Nigerian and other Africans account for a large proportion of imported confirmed cases and some local residents were infected by them. This would inevitably draw the attention of local residents and epidemic control personnel to relevant issues.
However, the fundamental rules and regulations are all-oriented and the only purpose is to make sure the city is safe for its people. In earlier days, China set up different prevention and control standards for entrants from different countries, mainly in terms of quarantine and medical observation; more recently, as the global epidemic situation has become more severe, the prevention and control rules and regulations for all entrants were largely balanced, and entrants from African countries, some of whom had not been subject to centralized quarantine before, are now under stricter management.
The intensified epidemic prevention and control measures in Guangzhou should be respected and coordinated by foreign nationals including Africans, which is not open to negotiation. The management of epidemic prevention and control of the local residents has been very strict throughout China. If some foreigners felt “discriminated” when in fact they were given the “national treatment” in China’s epidemic prevention and control work, what they needed was to adapt to and abide by the rules and regulations in a serious fashion, instead of complaining about and disobeying them.
It is very vicious of the American media to hype about Chinese “despising” Africans and portrays this as the common attitude of Chinese society towards Africans. As we all know, ethnic and racial divides exist everywhere, especially in the United States, but the prejudice against Africans by few Chinese people has never exploited any vacuum to become the policy at the national or local level in China, which serves as the fundamental boundary.
When the epidemic situation grew tense, the public would naturally be warier of a high-risk group, which should not be exaggerated. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan, its citizens have experienced being kept at a distance many times, such as being denied a hotel, but to a great extent, this is a kind of instinctual response and has nothing to do with discrimination in essence.
According to the latest tweet forwarded by the Deputy Minister of Commerce of Nigeria, the information that its nationals in Guangzhou had been treated unfairly is mostly false. The epidemic prevention and control personnel in Guangzhou were indeed doing their job properly, but some Nigerians did not comply with the relevant management, that’s how the friction was caused and then was distorted and spread.
The epidemic prevention and control efforts in Guangzhou are compounded by some illegal African immigrants. The success of China’s prevention and control rests on the measures of social distancing and the effective organization in epidemiological investigations during the special periods. It must be said that the very unwillingness of some foreigners to cooperate with such organizations and attempts to seek personal privileges complicates the epidemic prevention and control work in Guangzhou.
Preventing imported cases from outside China is now China’ top priority. It is the bottom line of foreign-affairs work to resolutely implement all the epidemic prevention and control measures regardless of the nationality or race of the entrants. I hope all foreign nationals coming to China are well aware of this and do not have any thoughts in seeking privileges. At the same time, I hope all Chinese people can stay calm. The epidemic prevention and control work is strict, but the general public should not be so harsh but be more loving.
The majority of African countries are friendly to China, and China-Africa relations has always been the envy of the US and some western countries so that they are ready to drive a wedge between us at any time. What China should do is to stick to its principles and get all friends used to the special measures taken in special periods. Meanwhile, China will try to provide no chance for the US and the West to sow discord between China and African countries. They should continue to envy China-Africa friendship.
Jiang Yi is a Masters student at the Graduate School of China Foreign Affairs University, majoring in Foreign and Applied Linguistics. She is interested in International relations, politics and other hotspot global issues.