On April 14, 2020, Rev. Dr. Fidon Mwombeki, the general secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), signed an announcement condemning racial discrimination against Africans in China.
According to AACC, the organization, an active part of WCC, World Council of Churches, it has heard and seen Images of African residents evicted from their residence or hotels and harassed by the local police in Guangzhou, China.
The AACC believes that these actions were taken under the name of COVID-19 control, yet led to unjust racial discrimination.
The announcement stressed the fact that Africa is by far the least affected continent, while China is where the disease was first diagnosed. The organization found it incomprehensible and ironic that African citizens in China were suspected of being infected and therefore mistreated.
Despite the political and financial challenge the pandemic has brought upon China and many other countries worldwide, the announcement by the AACC values the long-term mutual respect between China and Africa. It revealed the efforts that African governments have carried out in protecting Chinese citizens in Africa when they suffered from anger and abuse on the local streets. It suggested the Chinese government take the same actions now in Guangzhou, instead of singling out Africans.
At the end of the announcement, the AACC called on African governments, the African Union, member churches and Christian councils to condemn the xenophobic attacks against Africans in China, to protest against evil acts and to respect all human beings as created in the image of God. Upholding virtue and behaving accordingly is not easy, yet the organization still believes in kindness rather than revenge to cope with the current issue.
On the same date the announcement was signed, a joint news conference was held by the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Zhou Pingjian, and the Minister for foreign affairs of Nigeria, Geoffrey Onyeama. According to a CCTV reporter, He Beiping, some clarification was made on the “Nigerian citizens mistreated in Guangzhou” issue. Mr Onyeama also briefly introduced the current progress of the COVID-19 control work in Guangzhou.
Mr Onyeama said that in the past few days, some Nigerian citizens were diagnosed with COVID-19 after arriving in Guangzhou. One of them runs a restaurant in Guangzhou, which is frequently visited by local Africans. The restaurant and all close contacts had to be put in quarantine and not allowed to return to their residence or hotels. He also mentioned that an effective communication mechanism had been established between the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Guangzhou and the local government. All the actions were taken to ensure the safety and health of both Nigerian and Chinese citizens.
Mr. Zhou added that all foreign citizens were equally treated in China and there should be no tolerance of racial discrimination under any circumstances.