China dismissed on Monday allegations leveled by African and U.S. diplomats that foreigners of African appearance in the city of Guangzhou were being subjected to forceful testing for coronavirus, quarantine and ill treatment.

“We do not have discrimination in China against African brothers,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily news briefing, accusing the United States of trying to exploit the issue to harm Beijing’s relations with African nations.

What had happened?

A group of African ambassadors in Beijing had written to China’s State Councilor Wang Yi drawing attention to the alleged discrimination that Africans were encountering in Guangzhou, capital of the southern Guangdong province. Afterwards, the U.S. consulate in the city also issued an alert to citizens. The alert advised African-Americans to stay away from the Guangzhou metropolitan area, warning that city authorities had told bars and restaurants to refuse to serve people who “appear to be of African origin” and launched mandatory tests and self-quarantines for anyone with “African contacts.”

China responds

Chinese foreign official Zhao did not directly comment on the ambassadors’ note, but said Guangdong had rolled out “new measures” and that Beijing was working with the relevant African nations to resolve the issue. He did not elaborate on what the new measures were.


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