Media Statement

12 April 2020

South Africa concerned about the allegations of discrimination and stigmatisation of Africans in China

As Chair of the African Union, South Africa is deeply concerned about reports of alleged ill-treatment of African nationals in China, including the forceful testing, quarantining for COVID-19, and other inhuman treatment.

Reports of these alleged actions are inconsistent with the excellent relations that exist between China and Africa, dating back to China’s support during the decolonisation struggle in Africa, and now manifesting in an extensive Africa-China partnership. This collaborative, mutual relationship also finds concrete expression in the support that China is providing to Africa in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Africa welcomes the action taken by the AU Commission Chairperson, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, to summon the Chinese Ambassador in Addis Ababa to provide an explanation, and express the AU’s deep concern about this matter.

We also welcome the assurance by the Chinese authorities that it is not the policy of China to discriminate against African nationals.

South Africa urges the relevant Chinese authorities to investigate these reports and take appropriate remedial measures.

We encourage the African Group of Ambassadors in Beijing to continue to engage the Chinese authorities with a view to ensuring that Africans are not subjected to any ill-treatment, and that instead, they are treated equally, with respect and with dignity like all other nationals in China.

Enquiries: Lunga Ngqengelele, DIRCO MLO - on 082 566 0446


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