Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
Black residents of Guangzhou, China, have been facing increased racism as the country fears a second wave of the coronavirus, according to a report in The Washington Post.
Some businesses, including a McDonald's, have refused service to black customers.
Some black residents have been kicked out of their apartments and forced to sleep in hotels or on the streets.
In a video that was widely shared online, a McDonald's employee in Guangzhou, China, held up a sign that read: "From now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant."
McDonald's China apologized Monday for the discriminatory incident.
"As a brand, as a company and as more than 2.2 million people serving nearly 120 countries around the world, this is not representative of our inclusive values," a spokeswoman told Insider. "Immediately upon learning of an unauthorized communication to our guests at a restaurant in Guangzhou, we immediately removed the communication and temporarily closed the restaurant."
During the temporary closure, staff will be retrained, the spokesperson said.
But the ban of black residents has highlighted systemic racism that has bubbled up in the city — which hosts the largest African diaspora in Asia — as China fears of a second wave of the coronavirus.
—Black Livity China (@BlackLivityCN) April 11, 2020
Aside from being refused service at some restaurants and bars, many Africans living in China have been kicked out of their homes and forces to sleep on the streets or pay for hotels.
"People are not happy because they're being forced out of their apartments and into hotels where they have to pay [$30] a night for 28 days," Maximus Ogbonna, the president of a Nigerian community group in Guangzhou, told the Post.
Last month, China banned entry to all foreigners, although 90% of the country's newest cases have been from Chinese citizens returning from countries like Italy, the United States, and Iran, according to the Post.
In Guangdong province, of which Guangzhou is the capital, 183 people have returned from abroad with the virus since it began spreading outside the country. Of them, 22 were from Africa, according to official figures viewed by the Post.
As the Chinese government works to push back against a second wave of the virus, foreigners are being targeted. And while black residents of Shanghai and Beijing have also reported incidents of xenophobia, the discrimination appears to be more widespread in Guangzhou, according to the Post.
Videos circling social media over the weekend appeared to show Africans sleeping on the streets. In one, Nigerian diplomats delivered food to people standing in the rain.
—Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (@nidcom_gov) April 11, 2020
The spike in discrimination could be, at least in part, related to recent news events in the region, the Post reported.
Last week, Chinese state media reported that five Nigerians reportedly tested positive in Guangzhou, broke their quarantine, and infected the owner of a local restaurant and his 8-year-old daughter.
Another Nigerian man who tested positive for the coronavirus was accused of assaulting a nurse while trying to escape from quarantine at a hospital, according to the Post.
The backlash has prompted the US consulate in Guangzhou to warn African Americans about discrimination in the region. Several officials from African nations have also spoken out against the treatment of Chinese residents.
"As a government, we will not allow Chinese or other nationals to be maltreated just as we will not allow Nigerians to be maltreated in other countries," the speaker of Nigeria's House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, wrote on Twitter.
—Speaker of the House of Representatives (@SpeakerGbaja) April 10, 2020
Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana's Foreign Minister, also condemned the treatment of African residents of China.
—Ghana MFA (@GhanaMFA) April 11, 2020
Chinese officials, though, told the Post that the actions were motivated by concern for "the life and health of foreign nationals in China."
"We treat all foreigners in China equally and we reject discrimination," Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told the Post Monday. "In response to the African side's concerns regarding their citizens in Guangdong, provincial authorities have rolled out new measures and we believe that by working together, we can resolve this properly."
Read the original article on Business Insider