After a massive crackdown of Africans in Guangzhou saw people evicted from their apartments and hotel rooms even after they’ve tested negative for Covid-19 or completed 14-day isolation periods, many continue to be caught in a state of limbo.
They are forced to wander the streets with their personal belongings, sleeping where they can find a place to lie down at night, and waiting to hear from the consulates of their respective countries.
Apart from having to experience the humiliation of getting unceremoniously thrown out of accommodation that they paid for, they have also had to suffer the indignity of getting turned away from restaurants, convenience stores and other retail shops.
With nowhere to go and nothing to eat, many have had to rely on other members of the foreign community and kind-hearted locals to stay nourished and warm at night.
One man who thought he might be able to buy himself a meal at McDonald’s had to leave hungry. An employee at the Citic Plaza outlet of the fast-food chain handed him a notice that read:
We’ve been informed that from now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant. For the sake of your health consciously notify the local police for medical isolation, please understand the inconvenience caused.
The sign is “not representative of our inclusive values,” McDonald’s said in a statement. The sign was removed and the location was temporarily closed down.
The industrial city has been steeped in racial tensions between Africans and locals. Recent warnings from Chinese officials about the rising number of imported coronavirus cases have stoked anti-foreigner sentiment. Africans in the southern Chinese city have been evicted from their homes by landlords and turned away from hotels, despite many claiming to have no recent travel history or known contact with Covid-19 patients.
Guangzhou has long had the largest African community in China. Because many Africans in the city have short-term business visas, they travel into China several times a year, making it difficult to calculate the size of the African population the city. But in 2017, approximately 320,000 Africans entered or left China through Guangzhou, according to Xinhua.