The authorities in China’s Guangdong province have released new guidelines aiming to curb an uptick of discrimination against foreigners. The guidelines require sectors including restaurants, catering, transportation and health to extend the same treatment to both Chinese and international citizens.
The new measures follow a storm of bad press and reports of individuals being barred from establishments, verbally assaulted, or evicted from their homes amidst virus containment efforts. Many of the incidents, which seem to be disproportionately affecting African immigrants, have occurred in Guangzhou, a city with a population of nearly 30,000 expats.
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Senior African officials and international news media outlets called for rectification, criticizing Guangdong’s government for not taking action against the discrimination.
New measures issued in an open letter last week could bring some peace to foreigners in the southeastern province. They assert that authorities have a “zero tolerance policy towards any discriminatory remarks” and that organizations and individuals cannot turn away a specific group of people from renting houses, staying in a hotel, or using public transit based on nationality, race, gender or skin color, reports international state media outlet CGTN.
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There are still challenges ahead for foreign residents and for Sino-African relations, and many African expats trying to return home are still stranded due to border closures and financial limitations — but official word from the authorities in Guangdong is at least a step in the right direction.
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