Why Can’t the World Do a Better Job of Calling Out Racism in China?
In early April, the director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, accused Taiwan of launching a “campaign” of racist attacks against him. “When the whole black community was insulted, when Africa was insulted, then I don’t tolerate it,” he said, adding, “people are crossing the line.” (The Taiwanese heatedly denied Tedros’s claim.)
Meanwhile, in a devastatingly ironic overlap, many in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou have decided to blame the thousands of Africans living there for spreading the novel coronavirus. Some restaurants barred black people, while officials forced black people into more onerous quarantines than Chinese and white foreigners — including occasionally confiscating passports — regardless of where they’ve recently traveled. Landlords evicted black tenants. “We have contacted a lot of agents; none of them are leasing to black foreigners,” a Nigerian living in Guangzhou told CNN. Tedros’s response to this coronavirus-fueled attack against black people mirrors that of many international organizations when faced with Chinese racism: silence.