Coronavirus: China apologizes to Uganda for racial discrimination reports in Guangzhou

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Uganda and China have struck a deal and given a number of wavers in order to protect Africans who are living in fear for their lives as racial discrimination locks them out of shelthers and no access to food sources.

China has offered amnesty to Ugandans who are stuck in different cities of China, especially the commercial city of Guangzhou, whose visas had expired.

The two governments agreed to a window of amnesty for Ugandans whose visas expired during the lockdown and said they will be renewed for two months.

However, foreign affairs minister has called upon Ugandans in China to register in order to access these benefits.

There are hundreds of Ugandans and Africans in general stuck in different cities of China and have been facing racial profiling, including eviction from hotels where they were staying. The Africans are accused of spreading Covid19.

 H.E. Zheng Zhuqiang, Chinese Ambassador to Uganda greets President Tower Kasita Museveni recently

It has been reported that some Africans had overstayed and became illegal in the country and therefore were unable to seek government services including testing and treatment for the covid19.

The lockdown exposed their vulnerability in the land of the red dragon, with some unable to feed themselves or even pay rent.

While addressing the press on Tuesday morning, foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa assured Ugandans in Guangzhou and other cities that the Chinese government has offered amnesty to Ugandans who have overstayed in the country.

 H.E. Zheng Zhuqiang, Chinese Ambassador to Uganda speaking with Sam Kuteesa, Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister on 11th April 2020 on the issue of suffering Ugandans in China

The illegal status of Ugandans and several Africans had made it impossible to test and quarantine those carrying the coronavirus which emerged out of the Chinese city of Wuhan.

After several countries shut down airports in the fights against the spread of the pandemic, there are Ugandans who could not return home and have reportedly run out of money to last them through the lockdown.

There are also reports of xenophobia rising in Guangzhou, which saw landlords evict several Africans from their motels.

Mr Kutesa, says he engaged with the Chinese ambassador to Uganda and Uganda’s embassy in Beijing to solve the crisis.

A number of things have been achieved since then including, Chinese government regretting the discrimination tendencies faced by Africans especially in Guangdong province.

Beijing said it was not government policy to discriminate against Africans and promised to take steps to check the vice.

The government of China also said it was going to communicate with its provincial governments to stop racial profiling it takes place.

Kutesa however called upon Ugandans to, “Take up this opportunity to register with our consulate in Guangzhou and embassy in Beijing so that they can take advantage of the services agreed upon with the government of China”.

He said China told Uganda that it will take measures on Chinese people who discriminate against Africans because it is not government policy.

Kutesa said Uganda and China have agreed to provide accommodation for Ugandans who have overstayed until the expiry of the lockdown. Also, those Africans who have been quarantined, will be supported by the Chinese government.

China will on top of that reign on targeted evictions by landlords to ensure there is no discrimination in public services such as hospitals, restaurants, supermarkets, etc…

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