By Trevor Makonyonga
Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-A), has called on the Chinese government to protect Africans after a series of racist attacks were recorded in these past few weeks in the Asian country.
In a statement written by MDC-A Secretary for International Relations, Gladys Hlatswayo, the party said it had noted that Africans were being forced to take tests.
“There are disturbing reports of people of African descent being subjected to forced epidemic investigation and Nucleic Acid Test, forced quarantine including in cases where they have not travelled outside China, came in contact with infected persons or show symptoms of COVID-19.
“Africans are being evicted from their places of accommodation, banned from entering restaurants and other public facilities, threatened with deportations, arrests and revocation of visas despite not being infected with the pandemic, especially in the Guangdong Province of China.”
She added that the move to test and evict Africans seemed motivated by racism rather than logic surrounding COVID 19.
“Indeed, this targeting of Africans amounts to racism as it is not supported by any scientific logic and contradicts the fact that it was in Wuhan province of China where the pandemic originated.Such targeting also violates international law. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights without distinction of any kind including race, colour or national origin. In addition, the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination commits member states to the elimination of racial discrimination.
“The Convention defines racial discrimination as any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life. The MDC-A therefore calls on the Chinese Government to protect Africans under its jurisdiction,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Consul in Zimbabwe has issued a statement saying that they are against “all forms of discrimination.”
“China opposes all forms of discrimination in any part of the world against any individual, group of population, and ethnicity. In the face of the threat of COVID-19, China and Africa need solidarity more than ever before. The Chinese government, business community, and individuals are making their best effort to support African countries in countering the pandemic. Tough measures are being put in place around the world, including in China and Zimbabwe. Minimizing imported cases and guarding against a resurgence of the virus is the focus of China’s fight right now. For this purpose, the understanding, support, and collaboration of all Chinese citizens and foreign nationals in China are needed. Throughout this fight, China treats all individuals in the country, Chinese and foreign alike, as equals. We do not differentiate our approaches. We implement a zero-tolerance policy on racial discrimination,” reads the statement.
The Chinese Embassy also discouraged misinformation because of “isolated incidents.”
The statement further says, “It is harmful to sensationalize isolated incidents or what is misunderstanding caused by insufficient communication. To misrepresent this as tensions between nations and races is dangerous. Since March, Zimbabwe has seen a series of cases in which Chinese nationals, with medical conditions unrelated to COVID-19, were refused treatment by local hospitals. Some Chinese individuals were even verbally and physically abused in the street. Instead of making waves with these cases, the Chinese Embassy, Chinese nationals and journalists in Zimbabwe chose to inform the Zimbabwean authorities. This is because we do not believe the Zimbabwean government and general population condone such behavior.
“We have taken note of relevant reports. In response to the occasional incidents and misunderstanding in the process of implementing epidemic prevention and control measures in relevant places in China, we will communicate with the relevant parties timely to promote the improvement of working methods and make sure well-intentioned policies are carried out to a good effect. We also expect all foreign nationals in China to fully comply with the local policies aimed at controlling the pandemic and support and cooperate with the local authorities as theydischarge their lawful duty. Only by working together can we win this tough battle.”