Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah yesterday said government is appreciating efforts undertaken by the Chinese in dealing with the alleged coronavirus-related discrimination against African nationals in that country.
Beijing is facing a diplomatic crisis with several African countries after reports that African students and expatriates in China are being evicted from their homes and mistreated over fears they could spread the novel coronavirus.
Large numbers of African nationals were also left homeless after being evicted by landlords and rejected by hotels in the city.
“Namibia is deeply concerned by reports of Africans being targeted in China and subjected to forced evictions, arbitrary quarantines and mass coronavirus testing, following a new outbreak of Covid-19 in China,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said in a statement yesterday. However, she said government has noted with satisfaction that the issue was discussed in Beijing between the ambassadors of the African Group and Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Chen Xiadong. “Namibia appreciates the efforts undertaken by the Central Government of China in dealing with the disturbing events in Guangzhou Province,” she said. “Namibia welcomes the assurance by the Chinese authorities that it is not the policy of the People’s Republic of China to discriminate against African nationals,” she added. She further reminded all Namibians living abroad to respect and abide by the precautionary measures put in place by their respective host countries to ensure the virus is contained and lives are saved.
“Namibian nationals in the affected areas are once again advised to remain in contact with the Embassy of Namibia in Beijing directly or through the Namibian Student Association in China,” she said. Meanwhile, on Saturday, Nigerian lawmaker Oloye Akin Alabi posted a video on Twitter of the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, being grilled by a Nigerian politician over the mistreatment of Africans in Guangzhou. During the exchange, Zhou is made to watch videos of Africans allegedly being mistreated in China. Oloye accompanied the video with the message that his government would “not tolerate maltreatment of Nigerians in China.” The governments of Uganda and Ghana also reportedly summoned their respective Chinese ambassadors over what the Ghanaians called “the inhumane treatment being meted out”. Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry of South Africa, which is currently chairing the African Union, said it was “deeply concerned” by the reports.
On Saturday, in perhaps the most serious sign of continent-wide discontent, Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission, tweeted he had invited the Chinese ambassador to the AU to personally discuss the allegations of mistreatment.
– Additional reporting by AL Jazeera