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Two African students who study in China, Abubakar Hayaty and Donatien Niyonzima, share their views with CGTN on discriminatory behavior towards Africans

CGTN: It has been alleged that the Guangzhou authorities discriminated against Africans. What’s your take on this?

Abubakar: China made wonderful strategic plan and made an example to combat the crisis. When the Chinese government traced those foreigners who came from different countries, they didn’t say like “you are a foreigner, and so I’m not going to provide for you the health service, because you are foreigner,” as some countries did.

And to understand that we have to look at the Chinese culture, and also we have to study well the Chinese language to figure out the Chinese idioms. What they say to us. For example, there is Chinese idiom that goes like this: “一视同仁”, “世界各国人民都像兄弟一样” and so on. So what does it mean? All these idioms mean: treat people equally. So there is no difference between people – who you are, you come from which part, you are African or you are Asian.

Donatien: My personal analysis about that incident in Guangzhou is that actually we have failed to understand each other. The side of Africans, they have failed to adapt to the Chinese system. Chinese authorities, they also failed to know how things work in Africa.

I think the failure to understand the way the system works here with many Africans have some serious problems and those serious problems, they risk to actually shed a bad image of China-Africa relations and actually to shed a bad image between … amongst the Chinese locals towards Africans. So let’s try to respect each other and understand some cultural differences, some historical backgrounds from both sides.

CGTN: Facing a surge of racial discrimination, how can countries strengthen international cooperation to jointly combat the epidemic?

Abubakar: What I want to say, China has provided a model for the world. Moreover, China was able to provide other countries with medical systems. And this is the reality of the humanity, the reality of the humanity here in China. Let me say that as the president of the WHO said, this is the time to work together. It doesn’t matter who you are, you come from which place, let us fight the virus together.

Donatien: I would recommend different nations to actually strengthen sensitization among their citizens, telling them that humans are humans and that in situation, in a great crisis, like this one, the most important thing is to move together, to fight together, to be able to cut down the epidemic, which has become a pandemic and to forget about discriminating others or just qualifying people based on their skin color or where they are from. 

Interviewer: Yang Chuchu 


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