Attacks Of Nigerians In China: FG’s Report Indicts Illegal Immigrants, Chinese Authorities

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The Chinese Authorities and Nigerian illegal residents in China have both been blamed for the maltreatments of Nigerians in China, especially in Guangzhou, the Federal Government investigative report revealed.
The ill treatment of Nigerians in Guangzhou have Sparked  condemnations across the country resulting in the House of Representatives moving a motion to investigate the attacks.
The Summarized report which, The Bridge News obtained from sources close to The Presidency entitled “INTERFACE BETWEEN THE MINISTRY AND THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT THROUGH THE EMBASSY OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA IN NIGERIA”, revealed that those who were central to the crisis are Nigerian illegal immigrants in China.
The full report which was forwarded, on Tuesday to both the Senate and the House of Representatives, by the Ministry of Foriegn Affairs, also blamed the Chinese authorities for mishandling some of the cases and however noted that the Chinese authorities accepted the blames and have made amends.
A portion of the report revealed that “majority of overstayers resisted mandatory testing because they didn’t want to be identified as illegal immigrants. They were further denied the right to lease accommodation or hotel accommodation after the 14 days quarantine”.
The report added “Mission’s report further alluded that majority of those posing a problem were long time overstayers who used the opportunity to foment trouble and distract ongoing health procedures which applied to both Chinese and Foreign officials alike”.
The report dated April 28,2020 further stated that at the behest of the Covid-19 crisis in China “Illegal immigrants are provided hotel accommodation at their own expense until after the quarantine/evacuation period while Nigerians with genuine resident permits and rented apartments, however, subject to the landlords agreement were allowed to return to their homes after the 14 days quarantine”.
”Mission further reported that the Chinese authorities’ acknowledged that they did not properly disseminate the information to Embassies to enable them reach their Nationals resulting in initial resistance. The Ambassadors also lamented the poor treatment that ensued in the course of the exercise including refusing to issue individual ‘certificates of testing’ to certify that it was carried out satisfactorily,“ the report further revealed.
The Foreign Affair Ministry said in the report that it “will continue to engage with our Mission’s in China and representatives of the Chinese Government here in Abuja, in order to exhaust every diplomatic channel and provide succor to our compatriots”.
“It is on this note, that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to ensure that Nigerians are treated with dignity and respected in all climes, regardless of adverse global circumstances. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to avail all areas of Government the necessary information as regards the plight of our citizens, and continue to co-ordinate the activities of Nigerians abroad as it concerns their evacuation” the 10-page summary of the report further stated.
Attached is a summary of the report
INTERFACE BETWEEN THE MINISTRY AND THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT THROUGH THE EMBASSY OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA IN NIGERIA
Following the reports of alleged maltreatment of Nigerians in China, especially in the Guangdong province, the Ministry has had a number of meetings with the Officials from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria with a view to presenting the plight of Nigerians in China to ensure that Nigerians are treated with dignity in accordance with the principles of basic human rights.
2. Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs had twice summoned the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E Zhou Pingiang demand for clarification on the ill-treatment of Nigerians as widely circulated on social media.
3. In furtherance to the above, Mr. Nura Rimi, Ag. Director, Regions, also met with the Chinese Officials led by their Ambassador, wherein, he stressed the point that COVID 19 Pandemic was a global enemy without
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barriers and can only be defeated through concerted International efforts. He emphasized the need for the Chinese authorities to place great importance on the lives and health of all Nationalities in China and strict preventive measures to ensure the safety of lives and prevent community spread.
4. The Chinese Ambassador noted that contrary to reports of racial bias and target of Africans, in actual fact, the Chinese authorities were doing everything within laid down procedures to identify potential cases and have them tested. He observed that the Government of China was under tremendous pressure to prevent domestic resurgence and contain spread of imported cases. At the outset, the focus was on Korean and Japanese nationals as they had the highest number of infected persons until recently when Africans became increasingly symptomatic.
5. While affirming Chinas policy of friendship and its commitment to China -Africa partnership, he stated, that China takes very seriously the concerns of the Government and people of Nigeria and would not in any way jeopardize the cordial relations existing
between both countries. He reiterated China’s zero
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tolerance for discrimination against any race or creed. He pointed out that most of the Nigerians who were asked to undergo testing were hostile and un- cooperative and even resorted to assaulting health officials.
6. He further clarified that some of the viral videos depicting China as racist were in fact recorded when the Chinese health workers were attempting to carry out genuine health procedures in line with Government regulations. He cited the viral video where the Consul General in Guangzhou was seen snatching passports from Chinese authorities who were using the booklets to verify the nationalities of the holders as an instance. This he said could potentially send out wrong signals and encourage others to be un-cooperative cautioning that the viral clips were not conveying the whole stories. He further reacted to the purported claims of forced blood testing on Nigerians different from the swab test carried out on Chinese Nationals.
7. He went on to refute the claims that Nigerians were evicted because they were suspected to be positive and asked that specific cases should be promptly
reported for proper investigation. In addition, he
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informed that a task force had been set up for this purpose comprising the Director and Deputy-Director General of the African Affairs Division of Host Ministry who incidentally had spent considerable time in Abuja. Their mandate was to identify incidents of racism and carry out proper investigation.
8. Apart from engaging Chinese Embassy Officials, the Ministry has also received reports from our Embassy in Beijing and Consulates-General in Guangzhou and Shanghai respectively and the following were noted: A. Beijing-
i. The Ambassador in Beijing reported that the African Diplomatic Group represented by the Ambassadors of Kenya, Ghana, Namibia, Tanzania and Mission met with the Director-General of Host Ministry to discuss the discriminatory targeting of Africans for Nucleic testing for COVID 19 and other alleged maltreatment meted to out.
ii. Host Ministry negated this fact explaining that the misunderstanding must have arisen from newly adopted testing procedures which occasioned some discomfort and inconveniences to combat newly
imported cases and nip in the bud spread of the virus.
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iii. Mission further reported that the Chinese authorities’ acknowledged that they did not properly disseminate the information to Embassies to enable them reach their Nationals resulting in initial resistance. The Ambassadors also lamented the poor treatment that ensued in the course of the exercise including refusing to issue individual ‘certificates of testing’ to certify that it was carried out satisfactorily.
iv. The authorities acknowledged their failings as well as harsh treatment meted out, including eviction from hotels and accommodation and promised to deal with specific cases brought to their attention.
v. In the meantime the Ambassador in Beijing further met with the Director General of the African Affairs Department on 21st April for updates in the Guandong province where it was earlier reported that Nigerians were forcefully tested, while suspected cases were evicted from their homes as well as refusal into public places. They affirmed the importance they attach to our friendship and assured that their measures had greatly improved.
vi. Meanwhile, Mission distributed palliatives to the
stranded Nigerian students at the beginning of the crisis
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while expressing their gratitude to Africa for not withdrawing their students during the wake of the crisis in-spite of the pressure.
B. Guangzhou-
vii. The Acting Consul-General, met with Mr. Deng Changxiong, Deputy Director General of the Foreign Ministry to address the concerns of Nigerians who have been denied hotel accommodation after being quarantined for 14 days to undergo the nucleic and serum antibody test in for Nationals who arrived China to prevent the spread of COVID 19.
viii. The Deputy- Director General, expressed his appreciation for the information and noted that the incidents may have arisen from a common misunderstanding between the particular individuals and the hotel management and was not in any way instigated by the authorities. He added that the Foreign Affairs Office would take up the matter with a view to allaying any fears that the Government is covertly in support of such behavior. He urged the Consulate to promptly report any incidents for proper investigation;
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ix. Ambassador further reported that due to pressure to contain the spread the COVID spread, the Government was using a different testing.
x. Meanwhile as at 27th April the number of tested cases was 16 while the number of positive cases was 15, Number of Asymptomatic cases tested was 73 persons and same number also confirmed to be asymptomatic. xi. The number of discharged asymptomatic cases as of 27th April was yet to be provided by Guandong authorities.
xii. Mission further sensitized Nigerians on the need to obey all the laid down rules to ensure its curtailment; xiii. In-spite of the above, majority of overstayers resisted mandatory testing because they didn’t want to be identified as illegal immigrants. They were further denied the right to lease accommodation or hotel accommodation after the 14 days quarantine.
xiv. Mission’s report further alluded that majority of those posing a problem were long time overstayers who used the opportunity to ferment trouble and distract ongoing health procedures which applied to both Chinese and Foreign officials alike.
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xv. Illegal immigrants are provided hotel accommodation at their own expense until after the quarantine/evacuation period;
xvi. While Nigerians with genuine resident permits and rented apartments, however, subject to the landlords agreement were allowed to return to their homes after the 14 days quarantine;
xvii. Mission therefore recommended the evacuation of illegals and those who visited and became stranded due to border closure. About 530 Nigerians are to be evacuated from Guangzhou. Mission is negotiating with Ethiopian Airlines for that purpose.
xviii. MFA is currently making arrangements for the evacuation of Nigerians in China.
C. Shanghai-
xix. Pandemic is nearly fully contained in Shanghai, however, no Nigerian has been infected; and
xx. There has been cordial interaction between the Consulate and the Nigerian community with a view to ensuring that suspected cases are reported early while Nigerians continue to observe safety measures and keep safe.
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CONCLUSION
9. Though the situation in China has touched the nerve of our National spirit and many Nigerians, have expressed their truest sentiments and the National Assembly has unequivocally been protective of the interest and dignity of Nigerians through statements expressed by the leadership of the National Assembly which is commendable. The Ministry will continue to engage with our Mission’s in China and representatives of the Chinese Government here in Abuja, in order to exhaust every diplomatic channel and provide succor to our compatriots.
10. It is on this note, that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to ensure that Nigerians are treated with dignity and respected in all climes, regardless of adverse global circumstances. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to avail all areas of Government the necessary information as regards the plight of our citizens, and continue to co-ordinate the activities of Nigerians abroad as it concerns their evacuation.
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Ministry of Foreign Affairs 28th April 2020.
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