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Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher April 16, 2020

Yes, Africans are being evicted in China amid fear of second COVID-19 wave

If Your Time is short

  • Africans in one Chinese city are being evicted amid fear of a second wave of COVID-19 in China and a focus on foreigners.

  • The evictions are blamed on racism, which the Chinese government denies.

Some Africans living in China are being evicted from their homes amid fears of a second wave of the coronavirus in the country where it originated. Social media posts about about the matter caught our attention, including this video shared on Facebook:

"Africans living in China now being forced to sleep outside in the cold," reads the caption at the top. A narrator in the video states that "Africans have become subject of racial profiling" as "Chinese nationals blame them for the rising number of ner coronavirus cases in the country."

The video, which carries a logo from The Savoy Show on it and appears to be a news story, was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

However, in this case, it is accurate. Africans in at least one Chinese city are facing widespread evictions and discrimination related to COVID-19 fears.

Numerous legitimate news reports describe such targeted evictions, stemming from fears of another COVID-19 outbreak, in the southern China city of Guangzhou. Home to many Africans, Guangzhou has long been one of China’s main commercial and trading centers.

One report cited a case in which a police officer accompanied a landlord on an eviction of an African. Black residents in a part of Guangzhou known as "Little Africa" are being forced to remain inside their apartments — even if they have not traveled anywhere that would warrant a quarantine — and submit to coronavirus tests, the Washington Post reported. Chinese officials say they are trying to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus, focusing on foreigners, according to Al Jazeera. President Xi Jinping urged authorities to carefully watch for imported cases from ​other countries, state news agency Xinhua reported. But China has denied racism in the effort.

But the actions are widespread enough, according to the Associated Press, that African officials are confronting China over racist treatment of Africans, including Africans being ejected from hotels in the middle of the night.

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The Chinese embassy in Zimbabwe said: "It is harmful to sensationalize isolated incidents. China treats all individuals in the country, Chinese and foreign alike, as equals." The Guangdong provincial government has responded to concerns about discrimination by calling China and Africa good friends, partners and brothers, according to the BBC.

More than two dozen Africans told CNN about being left without a home, being subject to random testing for COVID-19, or being quarantined for 14 days in their homes, despite having no symptoms or contact with known patients.

Photos and videos posted on social media showed Africans sleeping on sidewalks or waiting under shop awnings after being ordered out of their apartments and hotel rooms, the Washington Post reported.

And community leaders told the BBC that hundreds of Africans had been evicted after online rumors that coronavirus was spreading among African people. 

Our ruling

A video shared on Facebook claims that "Africans living in China now being forced to sleep outside in the cold."

Numerous news articles report that, amid fears of a second wave of the coronavirus, China has focused on foreigners as a possible source of the virus, and Africans in the southern China city of Guangzhou are being evicted from their homes. African leaders have called out the evictions as racist.

We rate this claim True.


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Yes, Africans are being evicted in China amid fear of second COVID-19 wave

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