China moves to address crisis in African relations

After the evictions of African migrants in Guangzhou led to a shockingly public crisis in China-Africa relations, China has taken significant steps to try to mend ties. The South China Morning Post reports:

Chén Xiǎodōng 陈晓东, the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, assured more than 20 ambassadors from African nations in a meeting on Monday that the Guangdong authorities were “improving measures and would gradually lift health management [restrictions] over African nationals except those who were infected, their close contacts and suspected cases”, according to a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs late on Monday.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wáng Yì 王毅 also called the African Union commission chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who had earlier tweeted his “extreme concern,” to “reiterate China’s policy of friendship toward Africa,” per ChinAfrica magazine.

China is also “likely to endorse a temporary freeze on debt payments by African countries as part of an expected agreement by the Group of 20 (G20) major economies this week,” Reuters reports.

However, awkward self-righteousness and a complete avoidance of apologizing continues to hurt the Chinese diplomatic response in some instances. The Chinese embassy in Zimbabwe defended China with a point that was completely irrelevant to the situation in Guangzhou: “More than 3,000 African students in Hubei, only one infected but was quickly cured. The rest are all safe and sound. Is this the result of the so-called racial discrimination?”

—Lucas Niewenhuis