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Le sort des migrants africains en Chine : L'afrophobie entrave la course de la Chine pour les ressources et les marchés de l'Afrique

Kohnert, Dirk (2022): Le sort des migrants africains en Chine : L'afrophobie entrave la course de la Chine pour les ressources et les marchés de l'Afrique.

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Abstract

Discrimination against the approximately 500,000 African (mostly irregular) immigrants has recently spread in China. During the corona pandemic, it degenerates into a true Afrophobia. Shortly before, five Nigerians in Guangzhou had reportedly tested positive for Covid-19. Africans are widely accused as drug traffickers and criminals. Also, they would endanger China's global competitiveness for Africa's resources through media baiting abroad. Current reports testify the displacement of African migrants from homes and hotels in Guangzhou (Canton), where most of the Africans live. They are dependent on informal, mostly illegal networks in order to be able to stay in the country. In online social networks Afrophobia as cyber racism is particularly pronounced. Thereby, racism is more deeply rooted in the mentality of many Chinese than is commonly assumed. According to a traditional Chinese proverb, the greatest evil to be avoided is ‘the destroyed nation and the annihilated race’. In addition, since 2005 land-grabbing by Chinese entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa arose international attention. Its main purpose is to ensure food security in China and to profit from international grain speculation. It was racially legitimized from the start, with slogans such as, only Chinese investments could save Africans from their traditional ‘laziness’. This repeats deeply rooted neo-colonial European prejudices of a ‘wild, ahistoric and uncivilized Africa’. The prejudices are still associated with a feeling of racial superiority. The social fabric of China has always embodied essential characteristics of the exclusion of ‘foreigners’, focused on ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender. The African Union, various African governments and even the United States have sharply criticized Beijing for mistreating migrants, particularly those from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. Racist attacks on Africans in China have an oppressively long tradition, associated with the expansion of bilateral Chinese petty trade in sub-Saharan Africa in the early 2000s and the subsequent influx of African petty traders into China.

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