Kenya files complaint on China evictions over coronavirus

Friday April 10 2020

Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo (centre)

Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo (centre) during a meeting on the coronavirus with the National Assembly's Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations, February 27, 2020. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

AGGREY MUTAMBO
By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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Kenya says it has raised a complaint with Beijing over footage of Kenyans sleeping on pavements and complaining of forced evictions.

Nairobi says, however, that it was aware that China was imposing new rules to curb the Covid-19, including mass testing of people.

The virus was first reported in Wuhan, China, on December 31, 2019 and the country had reported 81,907 infections and 3,336 deaths, according to Worldometer's tally on Friday.

It also reported 77,455 recoveries and 1,116 active cases, 42 of which were new cases.

Kenya notes that as such, China's goal is "to forestall imported and asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 in Guangzhou and other areas".

It says, however that, some of the measures China has taken "have precipitated unfair responses against foreigners, particularly of African origin, from some members of the local community in Guangzhou, especially landlords".

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EMBASSY HELP

In a statement, the Kenyan Foreign Affairs ministry said that following its complaint, the Chinese embassy in Nairobi that the Chinese government assured a serious review of the situation.

"The local authorities in Guangzhou have been tasked to take immediate action to safeguard the legitimate rights of the Africans concerned."

The ministry asked all Kenyan citizens in China to remain in touch with the embassy in Beijing, either directly or through their Kenyan community leaders.

"Our embassy in Beijing remains available to attend to any challenges that may arise and to do so in liaison with the Chinese authorities," the ministry said.

It added, "In view of this commitment and cooperation, we expect an early and comprehensive resolution of this matter to the benefit of Kenyan nationals in China."

APPEAL

Kenyans in China have asked the government to help them return home after a surge in racial discrimination against Africans in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Many living in China have been kicked out of their houses and now live on the streets, depending on well-wishers for food and other basic requirements.

Chinese police reportedly evicted them forcibly and taking away their legal documents.

Many Kenyans have accused China of turning a blind eye to humiliation meted on innocent Africans and have called on other countries to rise up against this brutality.

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