Great tension as new outbreak reportedly hits China amid Covid-19 pandemic

– Unknown pneumonia, a new outbreak which is deadlier than coronavirus is reportedly putting many at great unease in China –

According to HowAfrica, the Chinese health department has not been able to identify the virus despite the fact that it has killed 1,772 people – An official report stated that the deadly impact of the disease is much feared than the popular coronavirus.

A new outbreak said to be deadlier than coronavirus has reportedly broken out in Kazakhstan with Chinese officials raising alarm. Called the “unknown pneumonia”, the Chinese embassy said that while the country’s health sector is looking into the disease, they are yet to make any headway in identification, HowAfrica reports.

“The death rate of this disease is much higher than the novel coronavirus. The country’s health departments are conducting comparative research into the pneumonia virus, but have yet to identify the virus,” the embassy said.

According to a purported official statement from the embassy reported by the same media, the death from the disease is about 2,000 in the past six months of the year with over 30,000 cases of the virus.

“Unknown pneumonia in Kazakhstan caused 1,772 deaths in the first six months of the year, including 628 people in June alone, including Chinese citizens, the embassy said in a statement. The fatality rate of the disease is much higher than COVID-19. “Health officials have recorded more than 32,000 cases of pneumonia between June 29 and July 5 alone, along with 451 deaths,” it said. Sauke Kisikova, the health care department boss in Nur-Sultan, said that nearly 300 people are hospitalized because of the disease every day.

Meanwhile, It was earlier reported that scientists alerted the public of a new flu virus resident in Chinese pigs, saying it has become even more infectious and dangerous to humans and needs to be closely monitored so it does not become another pandemic. The study by the scientists said the virus threat is not imminent. The discovery was made when a team of researchers assessed influenza viruses found in pigs from 2011 to 2018.

They found a G4 strain of H1N1 which has all the features of being a pandemic. The paper of the study was published by the US Journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It was also discovered that people who work on pig farms have a high amount of the virus in their bloodstreams, adding that it is important to monitor workers in the swine industry.

A Chinese language teacher speaks with students at the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images

We wanted to know if Chinese migrants in Africa self-segregate. What we found

A Chinese language teacher speaks with students at the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images

By YAN Hairong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Over the past 20 years there’s been remarkable growth in China-Africa links because of increased trade and investment. As a result there’s also been a great deal of movement of people between China and African countries. It’s estimated that there are now about 500,000 Africans in China, while the the number of Chinese in the 54 African countries ranges between one and two million.

Though Chinese people can now be found in most African countries, there’s a claim that some commentators and media outlets make: that they hold themselves apart from their host societies.

For instance, a US commentator writes that:

(They) have no experience in the world outside of China; no curiosity about these strange African lands and their people and a morbid indifference to Africa’s long-term future. (Most) are poorly educated and ill-equipped to live in different cultures.

To some, the claim of Chinese self-isolation might resonate due to the physical evidence of Chinatowns, such as those in the US, Canada and South Africa. However, the reverse is true.

Chinatowns in these countries are not products of Chinese voluntary self-isolation, but of forced exclusion policies of white settler societies and governments. For instance, the Chinese Exclusion Act in the US and the Chinese Exclusion Act in South Africa.

These exclusionary measures were driven by the fear of Chinese as the “Yellow Peril”: a racial construct used extensively in Western countries against Asians who were viewed as a threat to Western civilisation, with images of expansion, takeover and appropriation. Today depictions of African weakness, Western trusteeship and Chinese ruthlessness are continuations of these stereotypes. I believe that these myths persist because of bias in the media and because Chinese relations and people are sometimes used as political pawns.

My colleagues and I set out to examine the claims of Chinese self-segregation in various African countries. Based on surveys, interviews, and academic literature we examined the varied lives of Chinese people over the past 10 years. Our primary research site was Zambia, although we conducted research in many African countries including Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Sudan.

Our research examined where Chinese migrants lived, their knowledge of local languages and socialisation patterns. We found that – like all migrants – factors affecting Chinese integration include local political environment, recentness of migration, language barriers, and corporate policies to mitigate crime and conflict. In addition Chinese are also affected by host bias – such as anti-Chinese campaigns.

These have all made Chinese integration varied processes and supports previous research my colleagues and I have done.

The accusations of Chinese self-isolation in Africa does not mesh with the reality: the lives of Chinese people in Africa are varied and cannot be reduced to a single category. The accusations are also damaging as they are racist, undermine African-Chinese relations, misrepresent the global Chinese presence, and fosters suspicion of Chinese migrants as perpetual “others”.

Contract employees

One group of Chinese migrants are contract employees. They usually work with large Chinese companies as expatriate engineers, managers, and skilled workers. From our research we found that contract employees usually stay for one or two contracts (with one contract lasting between one and three years), but a small number may work as long as a decade.

Of all contract employees, contract employees working on infrastructure projects often had the most interaction with locals. This is because they lived and sometimes ate with their local colleagues.

For instance, we interviewed teams of Chinese and local drillers from a Chinese water well firm in Sudan. One Sudanese interviewee said:

Chinese live like locals. If the locals have brick houses, they’ll stay in them, but if not, they’ll stay in grass huts or tents.

In China it’s not uncommon for construction and mining workers to live collectively in compounds. They now do the same in Africa. This helps to save the company time and money, but it’s also a precaution to reduce their exposure to crime.

Company policies can also affect how much workers interact socially. For instance, our field research in Zambia found that the Chinese mine construction firm TLZD had policies whereby Chinese employees were not allowed out at night for their safety, but also because – due to language barriers – misunderstandings can lead to fights. Most Chinese in Africa, like first-generation migrants everywhere, are hampered by a language barrier.

Some company policies encourage integration because they make learning a language a requirement for the job. For instance, one Kenyan journalist based in Beijing observed that some large firms only hire Chinese “with a solid understanding of local African languages.”

Wall Street Journal correspondent Te-Ping Chen also observed that “Chinese immigrants that have come to Africa tend to live side by side with Africans (and) tend to speak local dialects.” By contrast, we found that white people have lived in South Africa for more than three centuries and Indian people for 150 years. But unless brought up on a farm, few white people speak an African language, while most young Indians speak only English or are bilingual in English and Afrikaans.

Migrant entrepreneurs

For the Chinese people that aren’t contract workers, they typically work in small and medium businesses as either owners, employees, or family dependants. Some will bring their nuclear family to Africa while others straddle two continents.

They tend to live in small groups all over cities, depending on their economic status. For instance in Luanda, Angola, less affluent Chinese groups have sprung up in informal settlements.

Scholars find that how much they mix and integrate depends on the nature of their business. For instance, Chinese retailers have much more engagement, with a variety of people such as local employees, customers, or partners.

As expected, the longer they stay the more localised they become – for instance their children go to local schools allowing them to integrate more. As many Chinese are traders, they are also active in learning local African languages.

Our research shows that even though there’s plenty of evidence that Chinese don’t self-segregate, it’s a myth that has been hard to confront because some people have examples of Chinese non-interaction and may be politically invested in generalising that tale.

YAN Hairong, Associate Professor, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Trump: WHO ignored racism against Africans in China

The US president has also called the global health body a “puppet of China”

US President Donald Trump has criticised the World Health Organization (WHO) for not responding strongly to reports of racism and discrimination against Africans living in southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Trump has also called the WHO a “puppet of China” and is threatening to permanently freeze US funding. The US president has repeatedly accused China of failings in its response to the pandemic.

In his letter to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, President Trump accused the health body of not commenting on “China’s racially discriminatory actions” despite complaints of “forced quarantines, evictions and refusal of services” by African nationals.

He was referring to widespread testing of foreign nationals in Guangzhou in mid-April that was marred by claims of Africans being targeted on the basis of their race.

Video clips of Africans sleeping on the streets after allegedly being evicted from houses and hotels emerged, with those interviewed saying they were being forced into quarantine.

The Guangzhou authorities at the time denied claims of racial profiling, but President Trump has said the WHO should have condemned the “racially discriminatory actions”.

Mr Trump has shared the letter he sent to Dr Tedros on Twitter:

Fear, hope and grief: wuhan after the lockdown relaxed

People on the banks of the Yangtze River in Wuhan, China, last week.Credit…Hector Retamal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

They have delighted in the small things, like getting bubble tea and takeout noodles. They have rediscovered places like the neighborhood playground. They have searched for new vocabularies to describe their losses.

For more than two months, the people of Wuhan, China, lived under lockdown as their city buckled beneath the weight of the coronavirus that emerged there. Then, gradually, cases ebbed. On April 8, the lockdown was lifted.

Now, the residents of Wuhan are cautiously feeling their way toward an uncertain future, some of the first in the world to do so. There is trauma and grief, anger and fear. But there is also hope, gratitude and a newfound patience.

Here are four of their stories.


ELATION AND RELIEF

Her friends had posted all over social media: The milk tea shops had reopened! Wuhan was coming back!

But when Rosanna Yu, 28, took a sip of her first order in two months, she was unimpressed. “Did you guys forget how to make milk tea?” she posted jokingly on WeChat in late March. “How is it this bad?”

Still, disappointing milk tea is better than none. And while normalcy and good bubble tea may still be out of reach, just the prospect has Ms. Yu feeling buoyant.

In early April, after the lockdown eased, Ms. Yu and her parents visited a park to admire Wuhan’s famous cherry blossoms. Officials had urged residents to stay home when possible, but “we just couldn’t sit inside any longer,” she said.

She recently took a video of the long line at a local restaurant for takeout “hot dry noodles,” Wuhan’s signature dish. She now has to pause for traffic before crossing the street — a burden that has never felt less like one.

A street near Rosanna Yu’s house in Wuhan.
A street near Rosanna Yu’s house in Wuhan.Credit…Rosanna Yu

“Seeing a lot of cars, I’m actually so happy,” she said.

Her optimism is born, in part, of luck. None of her friends or family were infected. The lockdown was hard at first, but she soon distracted herself by learning to bake crullers and sweet buns.

Some things are undeniably harder. Ms. Yu quit her job as a secretary last year, planning to look for a new one in January. But her parents now want her to wait until the fall, for safety reasons.

She rarely sees friends, because there is nowhere to go; dining in at restaurants is not allowed.

But for the most part, Ms. Yu has embraced Wuhan’s new normal. She plans to keep baking. She may take online classes.

And she has discovered a new kinship with her neighbors. During the lockdown, residents who were barbers offered free haircuts. The neighborhood’s group chat, formed to coordinate bulk grocery buys, has became a virtual support circle.

“This was my first time feeling like the entire neighborhood, and all of Wuhan, was all in something together, working toward the same goal,” Ms. Yu said.


ANGER AND ALIENATION

Liang Yi has not been home to Wuhan in the four months since he fled town right before the lockdown was imposed.

If he can help it, he won’t ever be back.

“We have a son now,” Mr. Liang, a 31-year-old marketing professional, said of himself and his wife. “If we can create better circumstances for him, then we don’t want to live in a city like Wuhan anymore.”

Around the world, many are eager to return to the lives they had before the coronavirus. But for some, that return has become impossible, even undesirable.

As the outbreak ravaged Wuhan, Mr. Liang — who had hunkered down with his wife and 2-year-old son at his parents’ home about 75 miles from Wuhan — stewed over the government’s initial denials of the outbreak’s severity. He fumed over its early refusal to allow hospitals to test many suspected cases, including that of his friend, who was sent home to self-isolate.

On several business trips after the lockdown was lifted, Liang Yi was escorted to the back row of airplanes, reserved for passengers from Wuhan and its surrounding cities, he said. 
On several business trips after the lockdown was lifted, Liang Yi was escorted to the back row of airplanes, reserved for passengers from Wuhan and its surrounding cities, he said. Credit…Liang Yi

Yes, the Wuhan authorities eventually brought the outbreak under control. But he could not forgive them for allowing it to explode in the first place.

“This epidemic really must be related to the Wuhan government’s governing ability,” he said. “It makes me feel that living in this kind of city is unsafe.”

Now, as other Wuhan residents greet their newly reawakened city, Mr. Liang — who has lived in Wuhan for eight years, and in the surrounding province his whole life — is preparing his goodbyes.

He will have to return to Wuhan once, maybe in June, or whenever he feels the virus has truly gone. He will sell his property there, and he and his family will move elsewhere in China. Eventually, he hopes, they might immigrate, perhaps to Canada.

“It’s a last resort,” he said. “This is overturning your entire life. It means starting over.”


GRIEF AND REGRET

In the months after his mother died from the coronavirus, Veranda Chen searched daily for new distractions. He read Freud and experimented in the kitchen. He joked on WeChat about opening a restaurant. Its signature dish, he said, would be called “remembering past suffering, and thinking of present joy.”

But recently, cooking has lost its appeal. His mother used to ask him to cook for her, but he had said he was too busy applying for graduate school.

“I thought, ‘I’ll focus on getting into my dream school, and then after that, I can put all my time into doing the things they’d always asked me to,’” Mr. Chen, 24, said of his parents.

“Now, there’s no chance.”

Mr. Chen’s mother fell sick when the outbreak was at its height. An overwhelmed hospital turned her away on Feb. 5. She died in an ambulance on the way to another. She was 58.

She and Mr. Chen had been close, though they had often struggled to show it. She had insisted on saving money for his eventual wedding, rather than indulging a trip to the tropical island of Hainan. He considered her old-fashioned and often felt smothered.

Veranda Chen’s drive to the crematorium in his mother’s employer’s car.
Veranda Chen’s drive to the crematorium in his mother’s employer’s car.Credit…Veranda Chen

After she died, he realized he had so many questions he had wanted to ask her — about her childhood, about his childhood, about how she had seen him change.

Mr. Chen had to learn to grieve in lockdown, when the usual rituals of mourning were impossible. He couldn’t see his friends. His father wasn’t around, either; he had tested positive and was in a hospital.

Mr. Chen turned to Tinder — not for romance but for conversation. “Sometimes, talking to strangers is easier than talking to friends,” he said. “They don’t know anything about your life.”

Now that Mr. Chen and his father are reunited, they, too, are searching for new ways to talk.

They don’t discuss his mother; his father finds it too painful. But Mr. Chen wants to invite his father to go fishing, and to ask him the questions he never asked his mother. He also wants to learn from him how to stir-fry tomatoes and eggs, a traditional dish his parents used to make.

He is most fixated on getting into a psychology program. After his mother’s death, that plan feels more urgent than ever. “I want to use it to ease other people’s suffering,” he said.


PATIENCE AND VIGILANCE

Spring in Wuhan marks the start of crawfish season. Crawfish braised, crawfish fried, crawfish coated with chilies — and always devoured with family and friends.

But Hazel He doesn’t plan to have another feast like that until at least next year.

“Anywhere where there are crowds, there is still some degree of risk,” Ms. He, 33, said.

Avoiding risk shapes everything Ms. He does these days. Though residents are allowed to move around the city again, she still chats with her friends by video. Before going outside with her 6-year-old son, she peers out her window to make sure no one is around. She recently let him play on the swings near their apartment again, but they don’t leave the neighborhood.

The anxiety is not nearly as overwhelming as it had been in the early days of the outbreak, when Ms. He would cry while watching the news, and her son would ask her what was wrong.

Hazel He’s son and his grandmother out on a stroll in Wuhan.
Hazel He’s son and his grandmother out on a stroll in Wuhan.Credit…Hazel He

But, like others in Wuhan, she is still approaching normalcy only tentatively, understanding just how fragile the victory is.

Just last week, six new cases were reported there, after more than a month of no new reported infections.

“Wuhan has sacrificed so much,” Ms. He said. “Taking care of ourselves is our responsibility to everyone else.”

Ms. He is unsure when her company will resume the face-to-face meetings that are core to her job as a recruiter, but she reminds herself that her mortgage is manageable. She will have to wait until at least July to register her son for elementary school. But for now she is content to practice arithmetic with him at home.

“It’s as if we were running a race, and I’m currently 50 meters behind,” she said. “But as long as I catch up later, it’s the same.”

DETAILS: How Chinese nationals were arrested with $250,000 bribe

Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has arrested two Chinese nationals for allegedly offering a $250,000 (£203,000) bribe in local currency to one of its senior officials.

Meng Wei Kun and Xu Koi were arrested on Tuesday inside in their office in the northern city of Sokoto as they gave the money stacked in boxes to the official who pretended to have accepted the bribe, the commission has said.

The alleged bribe was said to be an attempt to scuttle an investigation into multi-million dollar corruption allegations involving a Chinese construction company in Nigeria where the two suspects work.

The bribe money was stacked in boxes

The anti-corruption agency said it was investigating alleged corruption involving about $130m (£105m) in contracts for roads and water projects. It is also investigating money laundering claims.

The contracts were awarded by Nigeria’s Zamfara state government to China Zhonghoa Nigeria Limited between 2012 and 2019. Neither the Chinese company nor its officials have commented on the matter.

Arrests of officials of foreign companies linked to corruption are rare in Nigeria.

China fails to stop racism against Africans over Coronavirus

African people have been chased out of shops in Guangzhou during the pandemic. Photograph: Alex Plavevski/EPA

African people continue to be barred from hotels, shops and restaurants in Guangzhou, despite Chinese officials assuring governments across Africathat discrimination resulting from efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak would stop.

Racist discrimination in Guangzhou earlier this month caused outrage in Africa, provoking rare official protests to China by several countries.

Africans in the city who were contacted recently by the Guardian said they still faced hostility and racism, prompted by fears they may be carriers of Covid-19.

Frank Nnabugwu, a Nigerian businessman who has lived in Guangzhou for a year, said he was not allowed to return to his rented accommodation last week after being released from two weeks’ quarantine. “The security guards said to us: ‘No foreigners are allowed’. I was upset, very upset. I slept on the street,” the 30-year-old said.

Police eventually found a hotel willing to rent Nnabugwu a room.

“We use the receptionist to order food,” Nnabugwu said. “If they [food delivery companies] know it is a foreigner ordering food they will not come. You cannot buy anything in a shop; if you go in they will cover their face and chase you out.”

 Can you get coronavirus twice? – video explainer

Kidus Mulugeta, an Ethiopian who moved to China four years ago to study mechanical engineering, said the atmosphere in Guangzhou had changed rapidly.

“It was so fast,” he said. “I went into quarantine … We were treated fine. Then we came out. Everything was different, uncomfortable. Like Chinese people changed their minds.”

Mulugeta, who has a job offer at a Chinese company when he graduates, said many African people found it impossible to rent accommodation and hadn’t been allowed into supermarkets.

“They say ‘no foreigners’, but if it’s a Russian or European, they allow white people to enter,” he said.

A Ghanaian computer science student said he had been in a hotel when police officers took him to another hotel to be mandatorily quarantined and he was tested more than five times. 


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The 25-year-old, who requested anonymity, said he was denied entry at “about 15 hotels” and slept on the streets. “ I have been denied entry into public places, denied into restaurants. All the tests they did have been negative.”

Anger in Africa rose earlier this month when images of African residents in Guangzhou being barred from various locations began circulating on social media. Other images showed evicted Africans sleeping on the streets.

China has maintained strict screening protocols, concerned about any resurgence in infections by virus carriers who exhibit no symptoms or by infected people arriving from abroad.

Authorities have limited international flights and blocked almost all foreigners from entering the country, as well as required mandatory centralised quarantines for those returning from overseas. Experts say such wariness has given rise to new levels of xenophobia and that Africans have borne the brunt of this.

Guangzhou tightened measures after reporting more than 100 imported cases of Covid-19, including 25 involving foreign nationals, some from Africa, Chinese state media reported. The new measures included retrospective screening of previous arrivals.

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African leaders are generally reluctant to criticise China, which has loaned governments massive sums and provided medical assistance in recent weeks, but the reports provoked rare official protests to Beijing.

Many African leaders were shocked by the vehemence of the online reaction in Africa to the incidents, said Cobus Van Staden, an expert in China-Africa relations at the South African Institute of International Affairs. “They realised there was domestic pressure … They usually tend to downplay [problems] but I think they realised that would be politically impossible this time,” he said.Advertisement

A number of African states called in Chinese ambassadors and the African Union, which represents more than 50 states, said the discrimination had caused grief, pain and humiliation to all Africans.

Ghana’s information minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, told the Guardian his government had summoned the Chinese ambassador for “a very stern conversation”.

Chinese officials moved quickly to deal with the initial accusations of discrimination. The Chinese embassy in Nairobi, for instance, told Kenya’s foreign ministry that authorities in Guangzhou “have been tasked to take immediate action to safeguard the legitimate rights of the Africans concerned”.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian acknowledged at the time that “there might be some misunderstandings in the implementation of measures” designed to prevent “overseas imports” of the virus. China treated all foreigners equally, Zhao said.

However, Beijing has also tried to suggest that reports of Africans targeted in Guangzhou are a plot to smear the country. An editorial in the state-run Global Times said western media, US politicians and “Hong Kong separatists” were among those “hyping” such incidents.

Roberto Castillo, an assistant professor at Lingnan University in Hong Kong who has been researching the African presence in China, said: “Unsurprisingly, China’s response was to deflect and spin the narrative as yet another situation distorted by western media and fake news, and to point out that China does not discriminate against any foreigners.”


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China has made massive strides in its political, commercial and cultural presence in Africa in recent years and launched a diplomatic offensive at the beginning of the pandemic. The row over racism threatens some of these gains.

“The images of black people sleeping under bridges, families with children being evicted from their legally rented places of abode, as well as entrance and service denial to blacks, were seen by many as Chinese racism and as a Chinese betrayal of African solidarity in these difficult times,” said Castillo.

Reps want FG to deport of illegal Chinese immigrants

By Leke Baiyewu and Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

The House of Representatives on Tuesday moved a motion seeking relevant government agencies to check the validity of immigration documents of Chinese nationals in Nigeria, to fish out illegal and undocumented immigrants and repatriate them to China.

The bill, titled Maltreatment and Institutional Acts of Racial Discrimination against Nigerians Living in China by the Government of China, was sponsored by Benjamin Okezie Kalu, Yusuf Buba, John Dyegh, Babajimi Benson, Tunji Olawuyi, Zakari Galadima, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Nnoli Nnaji, Dennis Idahosa and Tolu Shadipe.

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The prayers of the motion as unanimously adopted include; “one, condemn, in its entirety, the maltreatment, discrimination and xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in the Peoples Republic of China; two, urge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all relevant agencies to ensure that all Nigerians who wish to return home, including Nigerians that only visited for business, Nigerians with any form of travel document and identification, Nigerians with passports but expired visas, and Nigerians with passports and valid visas who have been ejected by house owners, Nigerians who have tested negative for COVID-19, are evacuated from China and quarantined upon arrival.”

They said, “The bill also urges the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all relevant agencies to provide all necessary financial and other assistance to affected Nigerian citizens in China who wish to seek redress in any local or international court for breach of fundamental rights, loss of property or any other actionable cause occasioned by their maltreatment or discrimination in China.


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“Four, it mandates the Committees on Interior, Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring, and Commerce to investigate the Nigerian Immigration, Corporate Affairs Commission, Nigerian Content and Development Monitoring Board, and any other relevant Ministry, Department or Agency to check the validity of all immigration documents of every Chinese person in Nigeria and the expatriate quota of all the Chinese businesses in Nigeria to ascertain the number of illegal and undocumented Chinese immigrants in Nigeria and to repatriate them to China.”

We face coronavirus discrimination – Africans in China

Ade* was given until midnight to vacate his apartment.

Five months earlier, the Nigerian student had moved to Guangzhou, southern China, to study computing at Guangdong university. He had just paid his university fees for the new semester when his landlord informed him that he needed to leave.

He scrambled to pack his belongings. The police were waiting for him and his roommates outside.

‘In hiding’

When he attempted to drop off his bags at a friend’s warehouse, he was prevented from entering. He spent several nights sleeping on the streets.

“Look how they are treating us, how they forced us out of our houses and forced us to self-quarantine,” he told the BBC from a hotel in the city.

“They told me that the [test] result is out and I am negative. Still they don’t want me to go out.”

Notice in McDonald's restaurant saying "We've been informed that from now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant".
Image captionMcDonald’s in China apologised after a branch in Guangzhou barred black people from entering

African community leaders in Guangzhou believe the vast majority of the city’s African population have been forced into quarantine or are sleeping on the streets.

“Some are in hiding,” said one community leader over an encrypted social media app.

Every African national tested

In early April, online rumours began to circulate that parts of the city where Africans live and trade were under lockdown after two Nigerians who had tested positive for the virus escaped. Chinese media reported that a Nigerian patient had attacked a Chinese nurse.

The health commission began widespread testing of African nationals.

The local authority says it has tested every African national in the city for the coronavirus. It found that 111 of the more than 4,500 Africans in Guangzhou tested positive.

“They just came with their ambulance and medical team and took us. All they said was that it was Chinese law and an order from the government,” said Hao*, a businessman from Ivory Coast.

Closed African restaurant is seen in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, 13 April 2020.
Image captionBusinesses in Guangzhou, including in the area popular with Africans, have been shut because of coronavirus fears

Guangzhou has become a hub for Africans in China.

Towards the end of the century’s first decade, hundreds of thousands were thought to live in the city. Many of them entering the country on short-term visas to buy goods from nearby factories and send them back to the continent.

By some estimates there were more than 200,000 dwelling in the city. Some settled for the long term. Many overstayed their visas.

‘Africans friendly with locals’

In recent years, the numbers have dwindled. Businessmen have complained of unfair visa restrictions and unfair treatment. In 2018, small hotels in Xiao Bei Lu, a popular area for African traders, temporarily turned away Africans from several nations, they told the BBC.

“Most of the Africans living there are nice and friendly with the locals, and they are doing business as normal for the past years,” said one Guangzhou resident who did not want to be named.

“If there is a problem, it may be that some Africans are overstaying and doing some illegal things.

“The conflict over the virus test, I think it is something of a misunderstanding. It is not about racial discrimination. That’s not the style of the Guangzhou people,” he said.

“People are not hostile to Africans in their mind, unless some Africans are doing things against the local rules,” he added.

The Chinese government dismissed claims of racism, insisting China and Africa are friends, partners and brothers and that it has zero tolerance to racism.

But many of those the BBC spoke to say they have been singled out because of their race.

“Ninety-eight per cent of Africans are in quarantine,” said one community leader who did not want to be named.

Wuhan lockdown continues – for some

Africans across China say they are facing increased scrutiny. On the deserted campus of Wuhan University African faces outnumber Chinese.

“We are the ones that are left behind,” says Michael Addaney a Ghanaian graduate student studying in the Chinese city where coronavirus was first detected.

For more than two months he has waged a social media campaign demanding his government bring his countrymen and women home.

Passengers wave from a car as it passes a toll station
Image captionThings started to get back to normal as the lockdown in Wuhan ended on 8 April

At the height of the outbreak, an estimated 5,000 African students were stranded in Wuhan and neighbouring cities, after most sub-Saharan nations failed to evacuate their citizens.

“We feel like sacrificial lambs for no reason. The plan was to keep the people safe by sacrificing us,” asked one student who did not want to be named.

“What was the point as our countries didn’t put measures in place to protect the people from the virus?”

When Wuhan officially ended its lockdown on 8 April, normality began to creep back into the city.

More than a week on, African students on campuses remain unable to leave the grounds of the university. They have no information of when their own lockdown will be lifted.

A woman passes by billboard in part of the town where most of the African people lives and works in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, 13 April 2020.
Image captionPart of Guangzhou has become known as Little Africa, because of the large number of Africans who live and work there

Back in Guangzhou, a student from Sierra Leone said she believed Africans were being singled out.

“All of this is happening because there has been a rise in foreign imported cases, [but] the majority are from Chinese nationals,” she said.

“Only a small percentage is made up of Africans.”

She received a letter from her university stating that all Africans needed to be tested. Despite being tested twice she remains in quarantine.

‘Others not treated like this’

“With all this happening, the Chinese have exhibited racism and discrimination against black people here in Guangzhou.

“I know people from my church who are white and non-Africans who are not going through what we are going through – quarantine and multiple testing,” she said.

“Quarantine hotels are like forced detention for blacks.”

A Nigerian businessman under quarantine said that “it was the police that removed me from my apartment and put me on the streets”.

“I don’t have any problem with my landlord. He didn’t even know I had been evicted. My children slept on the streets for many days.”

On social media, hundreds of Africans in Guangzhou have organised groups supplying each other with regular updates. They send photos of numerous hotels and hospitals where businessmen, residents and students are being held across the city.

Some post test results showing that they are negative. Others post medical and hotel bills that they say they cannot afford to pay. Videos of Africans sleeping on the streets have gone viral.

The Guangdong government has publicised a hotline for “foreigners who experience discrimination”. But for those in quarantine, suspicions remain high. Videos continue to circulate online of Africans being moved between hotels by ambulance.

Xiao Bei Lu is known as “China’s little Africa” but social media videos show that its streets, at one time packed with African traders, are now deserted.

The names of the interviewees have been changed.

Bobi Wine offers to airlift Africans mistreated in China

Ugandan opposition politician Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, says he has partnered with an American businessman to airlift Africans being mistreated in China.

This is after reports emerged of hundreds of Africans evicted from their homes and hotels in the Chinese city of Guangzhou over fears the coronavirus was spreading in African communities.

Bobi Wine said together with Neil Nelson they are ready to airlift the Africans if any African country agrees to receive them.

They are also prepared to evacuate to the US those who hold US citizenship or permanent resident status.

“We are calling upon the government of China to urgently intervene and ensure that targeted attacks on black people are brought to an end,” they said in a joint statement.

Nigeria, through its embassy in Beijing, had said it is prepared to evacuate its citizens from China.

The Guangdong provincial government has said it attached “great importance to some African countries’ concerns and is working promptly to improve”its way of operating.

BREAKING: FG bans travel from China, UK, US over coronavirus

The federal government says it is restricting entry into the country for travellers from 13 countries, including China, the UK and the US.

It said it is a precaution against the spread of coronavirus in the country.

The travel ban will kick in from Saturday.

”You will recall that yesterday Tuesday 17‘h March, 2020 the Presidential Task Force on COVlD-19 set up by Mr. President was inaugurated and held its first briefing, the presidential task force on COVID-19 said in a statement on Wednesday.

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”You will also recall that the PTF at the end of the meeting announced the ban on all forms of travels by public officers and civil servants until further notice.

”This morning, we have found it necessary to brief Nigerians on further measures being taken after an assessment of the global situation. They are as follows:

”i. The Federal Government of Nigeria is restricting entry into the country for travellers from the following thirteen (13) countries; China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Switzerland. These are all countries with over 1,000 case domestically;


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”ii. All persons arriving in Nigeria who might have visited these countries, 14 days prior to such arrival, will be subjected to supervised self-isolation and testing for 14 days;

”iii. The Federal Government is temporarily suspending the issuance of all visas on arrival;

”iv. The Federal Government is also counseling all Nigerians to cancel or postpone all non-essential travels to these countries; and

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”v. The Federal Government urges Public Health Authorities of countries with high burden to conduct diligent departure screening of passengers and also endorses this travel advisories to their nationals to postpone travels to Nigeria.

”4. These restrictions will come into effect from Saturday, 21st March, 2020 for four (4) weeks subject to review.”

Over 27 countries in Africa have recorded cases of coronavirus with some nations enforcing travel restrictions to check the spread of the disease in their territories.

The number of recorded cases globally is now over 200,000.

African students stranded in coronavirus heartland

More than 80,000 African students are in China, with 5,000 thought to be in Wuhan.

Thousands of African students in Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus epidemic, face dwindling food supplies, limited information and lockdowns restricting them to their campuses or hostels.

Two weeks after restrictions on movement were imposed, residents are running short of basic necessities, say students in the central Chinese city.

Live updates: How Africa is responding to deadly Coronavirus


Several people described profound anxiety, insufficient food and a lack of information. Many complained about the lack of assistance received from their own embassies but refrained from criticising Chinese authorities.

There are more than 80,000 African students in China, often attracted by generous government scholarships. About 5,000 are thought to be in Wuhan, where there are scores of further education establishments offering qualifications that are prized in Africa.

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A 21-year-old student from Cameroon living in Jingzhou city was reported on Tuesday to be among new cases. He is thought to have contracted the illness on a trip to Wuhan two weeks ago before the lockdown was imposed on the city but is not in any danger, university officials said.

More than 56 students from Malawi, mostly on scholarships, are among those trapped in Wuhan.

Bright Chipao, the president of the Association of Malawians in the city, said the students were desperate. “There is panic among us as we don’t know how long we are going to survive. We are also increasingly running out of foodstuffs,” he said.

Chipao said the students lacked masks, food and water. Prices had tripled in the city, he said.

Confirmed cases of the coronavirus have risen to more than 20,000

Source: Johns Hopkins CSSE. Note: cases in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan counted outside mainland China. Data correct at 9.40pm, 3 February

The students have asked the Malawian government to airlift them out of the city and return them home, citing the example of other countries in Africa. However Chinese authorities have asked local embassies to tell their citizens not to seek to return home to avoid further spread of the disease.

Many educational establishments have imposed rigorous curbs on students, restricting them to their campuses or hostels. A statement from one colleges read: “Considering your safety, please stay inside your dormitory during this period … Most of the materials are in short supply. Please save resources, cherish your life.”

Deaths from the coronavirus rose to 426 by 3 February

Source: Johns Hopkins CSSE. Note: all but one of the deaths have occurred in China. Data correct at 9.40pm, 3 February

Source: Johns Hopkins CSSE. Note: all but one of the deaths have occurred in China. Data correct at 9.40pm, 3 February

Kondwani Chembezi, a Malawian student at Wuhan University of Technology, said he and his roommate had only 2 gallons (9 litres) of water and some food.

He said: “Wuhan is becoming a death zone each passing day as the numbers of infected persons, as well as death toll, keep rising. There’s a great atmosphere of panic and despair as others have been repatriated to their nations, yet others remain here trying to survive this unpredictable period.

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“Going [to buy things] is a grave personal risk as no one knows who has been exposed to the virus – anyone can be a carrier. Prices of commodities have really gone high – three or more times the usual price. It’s a hustle to actually buy what you need as the demand is also high.”

A Kenyan postgraduate student who has been in Wuhan for five years said the biggest problems were a shortage of reliable information and of food.

He said: “The worst part about it all is not knowing what is going on because all the information we are getting is from online sources or from friends from other universities … We have been forced to have one meal a day.

“Our institute gave us some rice, milk, oil and some vegetables but advises we also use them sparingly because when they are over we might not [be able] to get more.”


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Many students contacted by the Guardian were reluctant to talk or be named, as they feared expulsion or other sanctions.

A Ugandan doctor in Shanghai said she and her colleagues felt better on Monday after a “worrying weekend”.

“We’re wearing our masks, washing our hands and avoiding crowded places,” she said. “But most importantly we’re trying to be positive and not live in constant fear and panic.”

Additional reporting by April Zhu in Nairobi

Cameroonian student becomes the first African to contracts coronavirus

A 21-year-old Cameroonian student in China has become the first African known to be diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus.

Live updates: All you need to know about the coronavirus as it happens

Coronavirus has caused panic around the world

In a statement, Yangtze University said the student was being treated in hospital in southern Jingzhou city after contracting the illness while on a visit to Wuhan city, the epicentre of the outbreak.

He had returned to Jingzhou, where he lived, on 19 January, before a lockdown was imposed in Wuhan to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 200 people.

Killian Ngala reports from Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé that the case has renewed concerns about the safety of some 300 Cameroonians quarantined in Wuhan with little access to water, food and surgical masks.

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In its statement, the university said:Quote Message: The university has provided psychological comfort to the student and has reported the situation to his parents and the embassy.

The university has provided psychological comfort to the student and has reported the situation to his parents and the embassy.Quote Message: At present, the student is actively cooperating with the treatment in the hospital.

At present, the student is actively cooperating with the treatment in the hospital.Quote Message: His body temperature has been normal for two consecutive days.

His body temperature has been normal for two consecutive days.

He has good spirit and a healthy appetite and his vital organs are stable.”

He has good spirit and a healthy appetite and his vital organs are stable.”

Thousands of African students study in China. They have made desperate appeals to their governments to evacuate them or to give them more support while they are trapped in Wuhan.

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Last week, Cameroonians in Wuhan wrote a letter to President Paul Biya, saying their embassy in Beijing had been largely uncooperative and they were short of basic necessities.

More stories about the virus

Germany confirms first human coronavirus transmission in Europe

Man infected by colleague who appeared not to have symptoms when virus was transmitted.

A worker makes face masks in Changyuan, Henan province, in central China. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

The first human to human transmission of the Wuhan coronavirus in Europe has been reported in Germany, where a man was infected by a work colleague who had been in China, fuelling anxieties about the potential ease of international spread.

Experts said it was of particular concern that the Chinese woman who originally had the virus apparently had no symptoms when she transmitted it to her colleague. There have been warnings from inside China that people may be infectious before they start to feel ill.

So far there has been very limited spread from China. A handful of countries have reported cases including France, which has three, and the United States, which had five. This is the first reported European case of transmission from one person to another but it has also occurred in Japan, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Confirmed cases of coronavirus

Updated Tuesday 28 January 7.00am GMT

Guardian graphic. Source: AFP Note: Taiwan, 5 cases; Hong Kong: 7 cases

The vast majority of more than 4,000 cases, however, and all 106 deaths, have been in China and principally in Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus emerged and caused a mass outbreak of viral pneumonia.

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Many governments have brought in screening or other controls at airports for arrivals from China. Countries that have said they will repatriate their citizens in Wuhan, including France, Japan and the United States, are making arrangements to isolate them once back on home soil. Hong Kong has announced major cuts to its transport links with mainland China.

The 33 year-old man who has been infected had not visited China, but a Chinese work colleague who was in Germany last week had “started to feel sick on the flight home on January 23”, said Andreas Zapf, head of the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety.

The Chinese colleague, a woman, gave a training session on 21 January at the office of the car parts supplier Webasto in Stockdorf in Bavaria. The man who had attended the session tested positive for the virus on Monday evening. He remains in hospital in an isolation ward, but Zapf said he “was doing well”.

The Chinese woman sought medical attention when she returned from China and was found to have the virus. She is said to have recently visited her parents in Wuhan. 
In a statement, the Webasto company said it had halted all business travel to and from China “for at least the next two weeks”.


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Health officials are checking 40 people who had been in contact with the two infected workers, recently, including colleagues and family members.

Experts said human to human transmission outside China was unsurprising. “We will continue to see further similar cases outside of China, but the indications are at this stage that onwards transmission will be limited, so there will likely not be too many cases for example across Europe, and on a much lesser scale than we are seeing in China,” said Dr Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton.

But the German case is concerning largely because the virus appears to have been transmitted by somebody without symptoms, said Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine at the University of East Anglia.

“The Vietnamese case was reported by WHO and he was in contact with his sick father who had returned from China. The Japanese cases was a tour bus driver who had driven around two groups of Chinese tourists and the German cases had attended a work-based training event also attended by a woman who only became ill two days later during her return to China two days later. The German case is most worrying because if the Chinese woman was indeed asymptomatic at the time of the training session it would confirm reports of spread before symptoms develop making standard control strategies less effective,” he said.

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The novel coronavirus is believed to have emerged from wild animals sold for food in the Wuhan seafood market, which has now been closed. It has a fatality rate of about 2%, usually in people who are in poor health with weak immune systems that are unable to fight it off. But experts at Imperial College London who do infectious disease modelling for the World Health Organisation believe there are thousands of mild cases that are not being recorded, and that the total may be 100,000 cases already. That would put the death rate far lower.

Symptoms include a sore throat, fever and breathing difficulties. People are warned to protect themselves by hand-washing, because it can be transmitted in skin to skin contact, and to cover their nose and mouth if coughing or sneezing. In the UK, the advice is for anyone who thinks they may have been in contact with somebody carrying the virus to stay at home by themselves and call 111 for advice.

Where’s Fan Bingbing, China’s most famous actress?

Fan Bingbing is arguably the most famous actress in China, a prolific star who has made the leap to international fame with roles in the “Iron Man” and “X-Men” franchises. She appeared in Cannes in May to promote a coming spy blockbuster with Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz and Lupita Nyong’o.

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She has more than 62 million followers on China’s equivalent of Twitter, Weibo, and appears in ads for products around the world — from vitamins in Australia to lipstick by Guerlain, the watches of Montblanc and the diamonds of De Beers.

Now she is missing.

Ms. Fan, who turns 37 on Sunday, has dropped out of public view for more than three months — the victim of a sudden and precipitous fall from grace.

Her disappearance has been greeted with concern among fans and fear among her counterparts in the industry. It has fueled a flurry of rumors of personal rivalries and political intrigue, even at the pinnacles of power in Beijing, though few concrete facts.

That so little is known about someone so famous in China — even whether she is in detention, or in hiding — says much about the murky intersection of politics and business, entertainment and celebrity.

“She’s like collateral damage,” Hung Huang, a critic and publisher, said.

Ms. Fan’s disappearance appears to be related to a government investigation into tax evasion in the film business, but she has not been charged with any crime, and no officials have confirmed that she is even under investigation. Few who know her, or the industry, believe it is simply a matter of paying taxes, though. And the damage to her reputation — and perhaps her livelihood — has already been done.

Her name was abruptly removed from the posters for a Chinese production starring Bruce Willis, known in English as “Unbreakable Spirit,” about the Japanese bombing of China’s wartime capital, Chongqing, from 1938 to 1943.

The film’s release, originally scheduled for August, has also been delayed until October, though whether that is linked to her situation remains unclear. (The name in Chinese is “Da Hong Zha,” which, inauspiciously for any movie, can mean “The Big Bomb.”)

Another film in which she had a role, a sequel of an animated motion-capture film, also was delayed in June and has not yet been rescheduled. Raymond Zhou, an independent film critic, claimed in an interview that Ms. Fan’s role had been edited out.

Several of the brands she represents also have distanced themselves from her. They include Swisse Wellness, an Australian company, which announced it was suspending use of her name, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Wednesday. A duty free store in Thailand did the same.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Beijing Normal University published a survey ranking “social responsibility” among 100 celebrities last week and put Ms. Fan last.

A promotional video Ms. Fan recorded for De Beers, posted on YouTube on May 24, amounts to one of her last public appearances.

In it, Ms. Fan describes how her parents sent her to music school as a child and wanted her to be a teacher, though she decided as a teenager to pursue an acting career. (She compares cutting a diamond for jewelry to the process of making a film.)

“Women today are very powerful,” she says, “they take control of their work and career, and in the meantime take care of their families.”

Ms. Fan’s disappearance followed an accusation in late May by a retired state television anchor, Cui Yongyuan. He posted on Weibo what appeared to be two contracts for an upcoming film, a sequel to one of her early successes, “Cell Phone,” released in 2003. One purported to show a salary of $1.6 million to be reported to the tax authorities (for four days work, as was widely noted online), the second an actual payment of $7.8 million.

The practice of having dual contracts — known as “yin and yang” contracts — is widespread in many industries in China as a way to avoid taxes, but Mr. Cui’s accusation prompted the State Administration of Taxation to announce a broad inquiry into the entertainment industry.

Its announcement did not mention Ms. Fan, but included this warning: “If violations of tax laws and regulations are found, they will be handled in strict accordance with the law.”

Mr. Cui later retreated from his initial accusations, saying he did not mean to target Ms. Fan. His ire appeared to be directed as much toward the director of “Cell Phone,” Feng Xiaogang. Mr. Cui previously had accused him of slander because the plot — in which a prominent television anchor has an affair with an assistant, played by Ms. Fan — bore striking, though he said inaccurate, parallels to Mr. Cui’s own career. A person at Mr. Cui’s office said he was no longer making any statements on the matter.

Ms. Fan denied the accusation of tax evasion — as has Mr. Feng — but she has stopped posting on her Weibo account since the tax investigation was announced. Nor has she updated her verified Twitter and Facebookaccounts since she was in Cannes in May. There have been rumors of her arrest or detention — or even her flight from China.

Efforts to reach Ms. Fan or a spokesman in recent weeks proved unsuccessful.

Officials declined to comment on the status of the investigation, or whether Ms. Fan has since become a focus of it. An official with the Public Security Bureau in Wuxi, the city near Shanghai where her studio is based, refused to comment on whether the bureau had, as rumored, taken over the case.

“The situation is that we all speak with one voice from top to bottom: that is that we don’t accept interviews and we have no comment,” the official said.

Until now, at least, a partnership with Ms. Fan has been a prize for international luxury companies. She is a regular sight at red carpets and fashion shows around the world, and has a well-documented love of Louis Vuitton, Valentino and Chopard.

Luxury brands, though, tend to be careful with China, because their biggest growth is in Asian markets.

Montblanc, a German accessories brand that has worked with Ms. Fan since April, confirmed that it had terminated her contract. The company praised Ms. Fan as “the quintessential modern woman” when it brought her on in the spring.

De Beers, the diamond company, has had a long relationship with Ms. Fan, who wore De Beers jewelry at the Cannes Film Festival this year. On Wednesday, she was missing from company web pages. After inquiries about the removal, she reappeared.

Jeff Trexler, associate director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University, said displays of conspicuous wealth are seen as an affront to the message being promoted by the Chinese government: that everyone in the country is rising upward on an economic wave.

“The more wealthy your spokespeople are, the greater the risk is,” he said.

Companies also worry that if they upset the Chinese government by continuing to promote someone who has fallen from favor, as Ms. Fan appears to have, they might suffer in a variety of ways, from taxes audits to obstacles opening new stores.

When it comes to the entertainment industry, which is heavily censored in China, the authorities appear to be particularly sensitive to the influence stars can have — for better or worse — on public opinion.

In the aftermath of the tax investigation, the authorities also announced new limits on the salaries of actors, even in privately financed films. No one actor can now earn more than 70 percent of the entire cast or more than 40 percent of production costs. The statement did not mention Ms. Fan, but said the industry was “distorting social values” and “fostering money worship tendencies.”

Ms. Hung, the critic, said the investigation clearly had been intended to send a message about celebrity excess — and perhaps even about tax evasion. She noted the often-cited idiom “to kill a chicken to scare the monkey,” and said even the uncertainty around Ms. Fan’s case would have a chilling effect.

“It makes people more nervous,” she said, “when it is unclear what is going on.”


Follow Steven Lee Myers on Twitter: @stevenleemyers.

Jonathan Ansfield, Claire Fu, Olivia Mitchell Ryan, Iris Zhao and Zoé Mou contributed research. Valeriya Safronova contributed reporting from Munich.

A version of this article appeared on print on New York Times with the headline: What Happened to Fan Bingbing, China’s Most Famous Actress?

Cover photo: The Chinese actress Fan Bingbing has shot to fame and become one of China’s most familiar faces. She has not been seen in months. Photo: Franck Robichon/EPA, via Shutterstock.

China: Car rams into Hunan square killing nine

A man has driven a car into a busy square in southern China, killing at least nine people and injuring 43, local government officials say.

map

The red SUV drove into Binjiang square in Hengyang city, Hunan province, at 19:40 local time (11:40 GMT). Local media say that some victims appeared to have been stabbed.

The driver, who has a criminal record, has been detained, officials say.

Officials have not said whether the incident is terror related.

A local government statement described it as a “deliberate, malicious case of driving with intent to injure”.

The injured have been taken to hospital and investigations are ongoing, it read.

Video footage from the scene on Chinese media shows people running out of a packed square.

Others kneel down to help or carry the injured away, as bodies lie on the ground.

Police have reportedly named the suspect as a 54-year-old man, Yang Zanyun.

Local media say criminal records show Mr Yang served time in prison for arson and drugs related offences.


Cover Photo; Map of china showing Hengyang. Photo; BBC.

 

Nelson Chamisa plans to run against President Mnangagwa in elections.

Zimbabwe MDC leader vows to expel Chinese investors

A leading opposition politician in Zimbabwe has vowed to expel Chinese investors who are “looting” the country if he wins presidential elections due in July.

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Nelson Chamisa plans to run against President Mnangagwa in elections. Photo: Getty Images

“We will kick out the Chinese companies,” Nelson Chamisa was quoted by the privately owned New Zimbabwe news site as saying.

“We want genuine deals that benefit the people,” he added.

Mr Chamisa took over from Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai following his death in February, but his leadership is being challenged by a rival faction led by former Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe.

The July poll will be the first since the forced resignation of long-serving ruler Robert Mugabe in November.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa will contest the election on the ticket of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

He is a strong advocate of a “Look East” policy, but has also been wooing Western investors since taking office.

“I have seen the deals that Ngwena [President Mnangagwa’s nickname] has entered into with China and others, they are busy asset-stripping the resources of the country,”the state-owned Herald newspaper quoted Mr Chamisa as saying at a May Day rally.

“I have said beginning September when I assume office I will call the Chinese and tell them the deals they signed are unacceptable and they should return to their country,” Mr Chamisa said.


SOURCE: BBC Africa

Namibia to finally export beef to China


China has finally agreed to lift the argumentative clause on lumpy skin disease (LSD), which has prevented Namibia from exporting beef to that country, the former agriculture minister John Mutorwa has revealed.

Mutorwa, recently appointed as the new minister of works and transport, made this announcement while bidding farewell to staff at the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in the capital yesterday.

“By the way I am coming from State House now – we met the Chinese delegation and they have decided to relax all conditions that prevented us to export meat to China,” said Mutorwa. Chief veterinary officer Dr Milton Maseke yesterday said the agriculture ministry is looking into the proposal the Chinese have made and as soon as that is done the minister will sign the new agreement.

“After the signing of the new agreement, hopefully some producer will qualify but not all of them will qualify because the Chinese are bringing in new requirements,” he said, adding that the ministry’s aim is to start trading and then negotiate conditions so that more people can participate.

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Photo: Daily News


After the agreement signed by the two countries in 2016, Namibia was expected to start exporting bone-in beef to China, making it the only country in Africa to export beef to that country.

Under the signed agreement beef exports must come from areas south of the veterinary cordon fence that are free of disease, including the contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (lung sickness), LSD and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease.

Furthermore, the two parties also agreed that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry shall be responsible for the inspection and quarantine of beef to be exported and the issuing of veterinary certificates. Currently, Namibia exports 17,000 metric tons of meat products to South Africa per annum, about 10,000 metric tons to the European Union (EU), and about 1,850 metric tons Norwegian markets.


SOURCE: New Era.

China rejects 'preposterous' African Union headquarters spying claim

China rejects ‘preposterous’ African Union headquarters spying claim

A report by a prominent French newspaper has alleged China of spying on the African Union headquarters. The Chinese-funded building in Addis Ababa is currently hosting the 30th summit of the pan-African body.


A CHINESE official on Monday dismissed as ‘preposterous’ a report by French newspaper Le Monde alleging that Beijing spied on the Addis Ababa-based headquarters of the African Union (AU).

China rejects 'preposterous' African Union headquarters spying claim
Built by China – the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa. Photo: Albert González Farran/UNAMID


Le Monde on Friday published an investigative story claiming that technicians at the Chinese-funded building discovered last year that the data from their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, the year the soaring building was inaugurated.

The newspaper said it spoke to a number of anonymous AU sources for the story.

“I think the report is not only a sensationalist story, but also preposterous and absurd,” Chinese envoy Kuang Weilin said on the sidelines of the AU summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The almost 100 meter (330 feet) brown marble and glass tower is currently hosting the twice-yearly meeting of the African Union member countries.

China sees the $200-million (€162 million) structure as a “monument” of its friendship with Africa, where it has been investing heavily in recent years.

“Everyone at the AU is grateful for the building that China built. Maybe some people want to undermine this kind of relationship. I’m very suspicious of the intention,” Kuang told reporters.

Le Monde said the servers in the building were changed and its IT systems redone once the spying was discovered in January last year.

The newspaper said Ethioipian cyber security experts were hired to sweep the entire building for potential bugs. They removed microphones hidden in the desks and walls of the headquarters.

The AU leaders taking part in the summit did not mention the report in their opening remarks on Sunday.

“There is nothing to be spied (on). I don’t believe it,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told journalists, downplaying the report.


SOURCE: DW

Facebook ‘working on China censorship tool’

Highlights

  • China’s strict privacy policy forcing Facebook to work on new software
  • The social network refused to confirm or deny software’s existence
  • No decisions about the company’s approach in the country had yet been made
  • Like many pieces of software worked on internally, it may never be implemented

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: CNN


Facebook is working on special software so it could potentially accommodate censorship demands in China, report in the New York Times suggests.

The social network refused to confirm or deny the software’s existence, but said in a statement it was “spending time understanding and learning more” about China.

No decisions about the company’s approach in the country had yet been made, a spokeswoman said.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group which campaigns for better privacy online, said the project sounded “extremely disturbing”.

“Kudos to the Facebook employees who brought this to the attention of the New York Times,” said the EFF’s global policy analyst Eva Galperin.

“It’s very nice to know there are some principled people still working there.”



The sources quoted by the New York Times – both current and former employees – stressed that like many pieces of software worked on internally, it may never be implemented.


Censorship concessions

Since 2009, the only way to access Facebook in China has been via a virtual private network – software designed to “spoof” your real location and avoid local internet restrictions.

Facebook, which has 1.8 billion active users, is aggressively looking to expand in parts of the world beyond its existing markets.

In the developing world, that means experimenting with new technology to connect rural areas.

And in China, it appears the site is at the very least considering making concessions to China’s notoriously tightly-monitored internet.

According to employees quoted anonymously by the New York Times’ reporter Mike Isaac, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was questioned about the plans in an all-staff meeting earlier this summer.

“It’s better for Facebook to be a part of enabling conversation, even if it’s not yet the full conversation,” he is reported to have said while stressing it was early days.

Facebook’s spokeswoman would not confirm or deny the quote was accurate.

Mr Zuckerberg recently spent time with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, as well as taking time to learn Mandarin.


Third-party Company

Facebook regularly removes content from the network at the request of governments.

It makes this process relatively public with a yearly report detailing the quantity and nature of take-down requests.

Where this software would differ is in that it would enable a third-party, likely a Chinese company working with Facebook, to prevent messages from appearing in the first place.

The range of topics censored in mainland China is vast. Most famously, searches related to the Tiananmen Square yield no results relating to the 1989 massacre.

Facebook isn’t the first Silicon Valley giant to grapple with the moral maze of doing business in China.



Google famously pulled out of mainland China after a backlash surrounding the censorship of search results. It now routes all traffic to Google Hong Kong.

LinkedIn, the network for professionals, does censor some content – although as the firm isn’t typically seen as a host of public debate, the move is not seen as being nearly as contentious.

If Facebook follows LinkedIn’s lead, the EFF’s Ms Galperin said “Facebook would be trading in their principles in exchange for access to the market. It would have tremendous implications for human rights.”


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/New York Times/BBC

China hit by Typhoon Meranti after battering Taiwan

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Super Typhoon Meranti has made landfall in southeastern China, bringing strong winds and rain in what state media has called the strongest storm of the year globally.

The typhoon arrived in the early hours of Thursday near the major city of Xiamen after sweeping through southern Taiwan on Wednesday and killing one person.

Pictures on state media showed flooded streets in some parts of the province of Fujian, where Xiamen is located, fallen trees and crushed cars.

Xinhua news agency said it was the strongest typhoon to hit that part of the country since the founding of Communist China in 1949 and the strongest so far this year any where in the world.

As it passed Taiwan, Meranti had sustained winds of 290km an hour (kph) and gusts of 350kph [AFP]

In some parts of Xiamen, including both urban and rural areas, power supplies had been cut off, it said.

Meranti was a Category 5 typhoon, the strongest classification awarded by Tropical Storm Risk storm tracker, before it made landfall on the mainland and has since been downgraded to Category 2.

Dozens of flights and train services have been cancelled, state television said, inconveniencing people at the start of the three-day mid-autumn festival holiday.

Tens of thousands of people had already been evacuated as the storm approached and fishing boats called back to port.

One person died and 38 were injured in Taiwan, the Central Emergency Operation Centre said, as the typhoon hit the southern part of the island, including the port city of Kaohsiung, on Wednesday.

Typhoons are common at this time of year, picking up strength as they cross the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean and bringing fierce winds and rain when they hit land.

Meranti will continue to lose strength as it pushes inland and up towards China’s commercial capital of Shanghai, but will bring heavy rain.

Xiamen, in Fujian province, finds itself in the direct path of Meranti [Reuters]

SOURCE: The Bloomgist/Al Jazeera

Nigeria seeks another $21b loan from China

Nigeria is negotiation a $21 billion loan from China’s Eximbank as it grapples with a foreign exchange squeeze

Nigeria Naira Notes1


Budget minister Udo Udoma who presented the loan request, explained that the money would provide a relief to the government.

The loan, explained Mr Udoma, would enable Nigeria finance its 2016 capital budget deficit.

The deal

The country already owes the Chinese bank more than $1.8 billion.

As at December 2015, Nigeria had accumulated external debt worth more than $10.9 billion.

China is reported to be in favour of the deal subject to some conditions, including agreeable repayment terms and its officials monitoring the usage of the money.

Shortage of foreign exchange has forced down the value of the Nigerian currency, which now stood at N395 to one dollar as against N195 in 2015.

The slump

Being an import-dependent country, Nigeria has found itself in trouble as it could no longer meet its foreign financial obligations amid rising inflation.

The dip in the country’s earning from export because of the slump in the crude prices has been exacerbated by the destruction of oil facilities by militants in the Niger Delta.

Information on the Nigeria Debt Management Office website shows that the country’s internal debt stood at $44 billion.


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/Business Today/Africa Review