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Xenophobic attacks in China reek of betrayal

Saturday April 11 2020

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Kenya and the rest of Africa feel deeply betrayed by China.

After standing together with the Asian country at its hour of need, when the coronavirus ravaged and caused it massive devastation, it is extremely shocking that Chinese people have now turned against Africans in their midst, evicting them from their rented homes and prohibiting them from shopping or going to public places.

Africans are subjected to online abuse and bullying and negatively profiled, with the call they be deported.

This is the height of treachery and defies social relations and human rights, let alone international protocols. It is racist and objectionable.

The xenophobic wave targeting Africans with demeaning undertones that they are the carriers of the deadly coronavirus is depressing and malicious.

Facts about coronavirus are well-known. The virus originated from China itself. China’s Wuhan city was the first to record infection and became the global heart of the virus.


For months, the virus caused mayhem in the city, leading to a lockdown for weeks, which fortunately, contained the spread. Bringing Africans into the mix is therefore disingenuous.


Wuhan and the rest of China are now relatively free of the virus, they have turned the corner and provide standard bearers to remedies that can be instituted to stop extension of the pandemic.

At its most desperate moment, Kenya, Africa and the rest of the world mobilised to support China.

Kenya sent tonnes of masks to China when that country was deeply in crisis as the plague attacked and claimed lives.

When US President Donald Trump went ballistic and accused China of manufacturing the virus, calling it “Chinese virus”, Africa and the rest of the world were sympathetic with China because such remarks were untrue.

China has established a cordial relation with Africa in the past three decades. It does business with the continent in quantities surpassed by no other.

Most infrastructure projects in the continent are contracted to Chinese companies, and the population of Chinese nationals working, trading and living in Africa is huge.

For a continent and a people who have been so friendly and accommodative, the least they expect is mutual reciprocation.


The Chinese government must stop the mistreatment and racist push to evict Africans from their country.

Failing to do so would be catastrophic. Not only will it elicit corresponding responses — Chinese in Africa being subjected to similar treatment — it will also be defeatist in the sense that it would dissipate energies and turn away attention from the global war against Covid-19.

Fighting coronavirus is a universal challenge that requires a collective approach. Race, creed or religion have no place here, and Beijing must protect the Africans within its territory.