Africa must not tolerate Chinese racism any longer

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020 00:00 |
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe addresses the media at Afya House in Nairobi. Photo/PD/FILE

It is ironical and unbelievable that the Chinese are now ejecting Africans from their houses in China on grounds that they are bringing coronavirus to the country!

Who does not know that the coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China before it spread globally? 

Worse, at the height of the outbreak, China was dispatching planeloads of Chinese nationals to Kenya, risking a whole population. Is it that African lives do no matter?

Why are white people, whose countries have been badly ravaged by Covid-19, not being targeted? This smells of racism—pure and simple.

Kenyans and other Africans are sleeping in the streets and being harassed by Chinese police. This is not acceptable.

African governments must strongly condemn this outrage, and Nigeria is leading the way.

First, China owes the world an apology. For almost two months after the first Covid-19 case was discovered in a Wuhan hospital in November 2019, China suppressed information in a cover-up about the rapid spread of the virus in the area.

Frontline doctors and journalists who tried to warn the public about the contagion in late December were punished.

China has committed a great atrocity against the world. This is not how responsible countries behave.

For China, the rest of the world did not matter. Experts now believe that China grossly under-reported its infection and death figures, and continues to suppress information. 

China must prepare to pay massive restitution to the rest of the world. Their irresponsible behaviour has wrought unspeakable economic devastation globally.

If China had been forthright, countries would have acted decisively in January, and coronavirus would have just been another slow burning localised outbreak like others before it.

Secondly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) shares the blame. For the longest time, the WHO, mimicking erroneous messaging from China, kept assuring the world that all was well.

In January, WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus assured the world that there was no evidence of person-to-person transmission of the virus, and categorically opposed any travel bans to and from China. This misleading advice has blown up in the world’s face.

In February, he was very pained by anti-Chinese sentiments in Africa. Yet, in the face of the current outrage, Tedros, an African, is deathly quiet, as China continues brutalising Africans. This is disgraceful. 

As usual, African Union President, Moussa Faki is tongue-tied when it comes to any Chinese outrage.

The Chinese ambassador to Kenya, Wu Peng, needs to be reminded about his own words last month when protesting anti-Chinese sentiments in Kenya.

“Discrimination and prejudice at this crucial time can only do harm to the global battle.” Preaching water and drinking wine!

American President Donald Trump has assailed the WHO as having failed the world over the Covid-19 crisis.

“They got it all so wrong,” he said, and dismissed them as China-centric. Clearly, a time for reckoning is coming.

This column would like to reiterate two things it has stated previously on China.

First, China must awake to its responsibilities as a global player. Its actions have global consequences.

It is sad that the consequences of its irresponsible behaviour have been brought home most devastatingly through a massive death toll globally, and a devastated world economy. 

 China continues to soldier on in the mistaken belief, driven by hubris, that it is indispensable to the world.

The world has been going on without China for three months now, and the world has woken up to the dangers of dependence on the Asian country. 

That hegemony is over.

China has clearly underestimated the world’s anger at this crisis, and deludes itself it can continue to behave badly. That’s why it thinks it can get away with brutalising Africans. 

Secondly, there will be a massive backlash from Africa, and indeed, from the rest of the world. 

This latest outrage has demonstrated to African countries that their relationship with China is flawed, and requires a drastic recalibration.

Racism, outrageously priced loans, white elephants, dumping of its citizens and counterfeit goods onto the continent have characterised relations between the two regions. 

This pot has now come to a boil. China has sown the wind. It will reap the whirlwind! [email protected]

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