China Seriously Appalling: “Haven’t Africans Suffered Yet Enough?” By Mazi Obi


With broken and bleeding heart, I am constrained to put to writing what we – the black Africans are passing through in China and in the hands of the Chinese.
Racial discrimination has never been so obvious and glaring to me until I came to China and to every person of colour in China, irrespective of country and racial inclination, being segregated against on daily basis in shopping malls, bus stations, subways, public transports, roads, walk ways – you name it, isn’t something new any longer. We have had to choose the best option of accepting and living with the evil and malicious trend as though it doesn’t hurt but the truth is that we don’t have any other option. Some of them will even have the temerity to tell you to your face that you should go to your country if you feel hurt because “this is China”. We are faced with so much discrimination that most times when you remember the ill treatment, the ungodly talks and laughter as well as the “finger pointing” you get from all around you, going out becomes a problem as you must have to first conquer the battle in your head before you step out otherwise you will be made to think that you are an abomination for being born black.
Lessons from Coronavirus 
Following the covid-19 outbreak in China around December 2019, a little “magic” was wrought as in opening the eyes of some Chinese towards segregation and cruel treatment we faced on daily basis or so we thought. In late January, they were already crying foul because people were distancing themselves from them – in malls and in subways. People won’t sit with them on the same seat in public buses and in subways and for them that were living outside China, people pointed fingers at them while murmuring to themselves in indistinct voices and avoided close contact with them as. They cried and lamented endlessly on national TV and on different social media platforms. They sought for empathy and sympathy and didn’t see reasons why they should be treated with such disdain. They made placards with the inscriptions like “I am a Chinese, I am not the virus” “Hug me, I am a human being and not a virus” and mounted on streets seeking for peoples’ empathy and love – the same they couldn’t give to foreigners in their country.
We were both ‘surprised’ and “happy”! Surprised because we thought that since they are racists and discriminate against people, they shouldn’t feel bad when treated the same way and then we were happy that finally, Karma has eventually caught up with them, they are being paid in their own coin and perhaps they will learn to treat foreigners right when all this is over but guess what?, We were utterly wrong – they didn’t change a bit, rather, they became even worse or perhaps showed us the other side of them we never saw – they proved unequivocally that they are hell bent on their wickedness and malicious treatment on Africans and to the extent of even destroying us entirely if they could. 
Mind you that during the heat of all these, Africans never for once treated them badly or segregated against them rather, we volunteered our resources, time and talents towards the war against corona virus. We prayed for China, we made videos urging people to stay strong in the fight against corona virus and not segregate against the Chinese, we sang songs of solidarity for China and Wuhan, we took to different social media platforms encouraging people to support and stand with China during the corona outbreak. We donated our resources and joined different campaigns for solidarity support, and while other countries we repatriating their nationals, we volunteered our man power during the disinfection of public places like air ports, train and bus stations and so on. We didn’t run back to our countries – we stayed back and fought with China. And while the Western and European countries were closing their borders to the Chinese – which is the right thing to do at that time, ours were still open and receiving the influx of Chinese nationals on daily basis. African air spaces were still receiving flights from China. All these wasn’t because we don’t value our lives but because we love every human being alike and according to one of our proverbs, we believe that a problem for one is a problem for all and so fighting along with China in their darkest hours is born out of the natural love we have for humanity despite the fact that we have always been at the receiving end of racial subjugations, prejudices and tendentious malignancy. 
One of us wrote an interesting article then at the heat of the corona virus outbreak in China titled “Stop it already”. It went viral within hours because the content resonates with what we, the Africans experience in our different locations on daily basis. We prayed they read the article and understand what we suffer in their hands and probably learn that discrimination and racial segregation is evil and inhumane and that no one should be subjected to such treatment but I bet you – they never did. 
Now, we are faced with this new form of parallel subjugation and as a way to say “thank you Africans” for standing with us during the heat of the corona virus outbreak. The Chinese has now turned against the Africans – we are now the virus and the people to be castigated. From one of the Chinas’ news outlets, we saw the news thus: “…Before putting the vaccine in other countries, domestic trials may include foreigners living in China…” and don’t be deceived, the black Africans are the “foreigners” here. We are not allowed in public places any longer, we can’t go shopping, we can’t buy food and eat food in restaurants, we can’t take public transports and the list goes on and on. As though these weren’t enough, we have now been made to stay in doors on compulsory self-quarantine without prior notice and in some cases thrown out of the house on few hours’ notice just because we are black Africans. 
The corona virus which originated from Wuhan in Hubei province of China is now becoming the foreigners’ disease and guess who the foreigners are? Maybe I don’t need to spell that out too.
This is a direct translation of one of the messages sent to some districts where Africans live “From 15:00 today (April 5th) to April 7th, according to relevant government departments. The streets will organize African tenants within their jurisdiction to carry out nucleic acid screening at designated sites (open space in front of the neighborhood committee). Owners/residents are requested to know and inform their families”.  
This might sound a bit okay and fine considering the fact that the fight for corona virus is still ongoing but these are residents who never left their homes since the lockdown was enforced in the region and assuming that wasn’t enough, why not issue that all foreigners be tested accordingly if you don’t want to include the Chinese residents? Why singling out only Africans?
A video that went viral sometime last week (which I believe they now want to use as a bait for their inhumane acts) about a Nigerian that bit a Chinese nurse in the eye while trying to escape from the quarantine center has also got me and several others thinking. “Why would a huge African man like him bite a Chinese nurse because she tried to stop him from escaping? Why didn’t he beat her instead? Why haven’t we seen any video of the actual molestation or does it mean there wasn’t any, not even from a CCTV?” 
Has anyone ever bothered to ask why the said man is escaping from a hospital where he should have hopes of surviving (since he has been diagnosed and declared positive as claimed) into the unknown where he could possibly die of the virus? Has anyone cared to ask why they (the Chinses nurses) take his blood sample not less than three times every day for several days without clear explanation as to why it is so? Were they subjecting him to any form of mistreatment that would warrant his purported trial to escape? Let me leave you with these questions for now.
Recently, many Africans especially Nigerians were thrown out of their houses and those in hotels ejected without any reason other than that they are black Africans. The same people you opened your borders to and said they can come in to do their normal businesses, the same people you made to undergo the 14 days’ mandatory quarantine – I don’t have problems with that but why turn them out into the streets after spending huge amount of money in the hotels where they were quarantined after 14 days and tell them to leave your country – just like that? You chased them out under the rain and in the cold and made sure they didn’t have sleep even under shades around your houses. They were forced to sleep under bridges and some were just walking about aimlessly until dawn without food and water. Thanks to some American friends who came to their rescue the next day with foods, water and some other necessities following their outcry on social media.
Some of them were forced to undergo another 14 days’ quarantine even after they were tested and confirmed negative to corona virus at the end of the 14 days’ quarantine according to international standard and also the police collected and withheld the international passports of some of these Nigerians on reasons best known to them. However, the passports were forcefully retrieved following the intervention of the Nigerian diplomat that finally came from the Nigerian embassy to their rescue. In all these, the Nigerian embassy weren’t formally informed about any of these. 
However, in Nigeria for instance, the Chinese nationals even at the heat of the corona pandemic where leaving and enjoying themselves peacefully without any harassment whatsoever and without the government giving them automatum for compulsory quarantine – what an irony?
I want to ask the Chinese… Where is your human sympathy? Are you people really this wicked? Why just Africans, what happens to other foreign nationals in China or are Africans the only people who could get infected even when you know we still have the lowest number of cases and deaths in the whole of Africa put together than in any single European country? Why do you hate Africans especially blacks so much and what is really your motive behind all these ‘drama’? So many questions bugling my mind now and I know for certain that the same goes to every other African out there. 
What have we done for goodness sake?
I wouldn’t bother to talk about the comic script that was written by the Chinese which went viral on social media last week about a sketch of foreigners being depicted and labelled as riffraffs that should be seen and treated as trash – that will be a story for another day.
We still understand that decorum should be applied in dealing with some sensitive issues as this because not all the Chinese are this cruel but when the majority has proven their eternal hatred towards black Africans despite what their nationals do, gain and enjoy in Africa, one has got to question the imbalance and ask pertinent questions. 
We provide them with the best of luxury and some of them make demeaning videos in some remote villages in Africa and upload in their social media where they ridicule and laugh in derision at our villages and local way of life yet we ignore them and see them as one of their problems as regards to civility but one has got to rise up and do something otherwise, our next generation will grow up to face the same mistreatment unwarranted and irrational attitude of hostility.
The full impact of this social malady will eventually become a national cum continental holocaust unless a vigorous war is waged against it NOW!!! 
Author:
Mazi Obi
April 10, 2020

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