Pandemic reveals rifts in China-Africa relations

By Pedro Alonso

Nairobi, Jun 24 (efe-epa).- Nothing has escaped the shake-up of the coronavirus pandemic, not even the seemingly idyllic economic relationship between Africa and China, which has presented cracks under the shadow of Covid-19.

Before the pandemic, Sino-African relations were buoyant with China increasing its influence in a continent traditionally dominated by the United States and Europe.

Beijing flaunted a “friendship through thick and thin” while the African elite sang the praises of the Asian investor with former-Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe describing Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “God-sent person” in 2015.

But the pandemic has revealed rifts in relations in recent months.

The first incident occurred in April, when several viral videos of racial attacks on Africans in China spread like wildfire on social networks.

The footage was filmed in the southern city of Guangzhou, home to thousands of African migrants, where authorities identified the continent as the source of imported coronavirus cases.

Rumors spread that all Africans in the city were infected fuelling resentment and mistrust towards the migrant population.

“From now on, black people are not allowed to enter this restaurant,” a Guangzhou McDonald’s sign said on a viral video.

Footage showed Africans on the street after being evicted from their homes or hotels.

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