Africa’s biggest economy hitting back at China for racial discrimination

Africans sleeping on the street in Guangzhou, after being unable to find shelter. (Photo courtesy: CNN)

(, May17’20) – Nigeria, Africa’s largest country and biggest economy, wants to take China to the international court for the “maltreatment, discrimination, illegal detentions, forceful evictions and xenophobic attacks” that its people residing in and around Guangzhou in Guangdong Province faced during Covid-19, reported May 16.

It has not only asked the country’s law ministry to help citizens file cases in the international court against the ill-treatment they faced in China, but also cracked down on thousands of Chinese immigrants who were legally or illegally staying in the country and was sending them back to China, the report said.

Earlier, on Apr 28, Nigeria’s House of representatives passed a motion titled “Maltreatment and Institutional Acts of Racial Discrimination against Nigerians Living in China by the Government of China” that was sponsored by 10 lawmakers.

“Concerned that under the pretext of curbing the spread of Covid-l9, which ironically originated in Wuhan, China, several kinds of maltreatment of Nigerian citizens in Guangzhou have been perpetrated by Chinese people and authorities, including wrongful confiscation of Nigerian international passports, prolonged and illegal detention of Nigerians in the name of mandatory quarantine, despite their having certificates of clean health and no recent travel history, outright refusal to release the test results, and the eviction of Nigerians from their homes and hotel accommodations, etc,” the motion was stated to read.

The motion also accused China of violating Articles 5 and 40 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, on the treatment of Nigerian citizens and diplomatic mission officers.

The lawmakers were also stated to have mentioned the “troubling” case of Felix Awah Elijah, a Nigerian citizen and legal resident in China, who mysteriously disappeared after his abduction and prolonged illegal detention by Chinese Police authorities sometime around Feb 6, 2019. All letters and appeals from lawmaker Benjamin Okezie Kalu on the issue were ignored by the Chinese authorities, the motion was cited as saying.

The Lawmakers have accused China of failing to reciprocate the favourable treatment Chinese nationals enjoyed in Nigeria, but, rather, endangering Nigerian businesses in China valued at billions of dollars.

The motion was also quoted as saying: “The actions and inactions of the Chinese authorities clearly establish a trend of racial discrimination as defined in Article 1(1) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to mean ‘any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin’.”


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