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Covid-19 drove hundreds of Africans out of Guangzhou. A generation of mixed-race children is their legacy

March 18, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 19.8%. 2 min read.

The pandemic has driven thousands of Africans out of Guangzhou, sparked the most severe anti-black racial clashes in China in decades, and remade business operations, with Chinese factories connecting with African customers directly over e-commerce platforms.

By then, the pandemic had driven hundreds of Africans out of Guangzhou, sparked the most severe anti-Black racial clashes in China in decades, and remade business operations, with Chinese factories connecting with African customers directly over e-commerce platforms.

By April last year, just 4,550 Africans were living in Guangzhou, according to local authorities, including students and diplomats as well as businesspeople.

"For the whole issue of African traders in Guangzhou, I suspect that era is over," says Gordon Mathews, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

In 2019 alone, of the 2. 95 million foreigners entering China through Guangzhou, 358,000 were from African countries, according to local officials.

"China wants to be the middleman and not have Africans (in its borders)," says Mathews, author of "The World in Guangzhou. " "So it would make much more sense for the Chinese merchants to move to Africa, rather than having the Africans go to China. "

Africans from Muslim nations also continued to practice Islam, a religion Guangzhou has a long connection with, being home to China's oldest mosque.

Guangzhou attracted communities of Hui and Uyghurs, Muslim minorities in China, who began serving halal food to the African incomers, as did a range of Middle Eastern eateries.

Permanent residency for foreigners is extremely rare in China, and most African parents live in a status of constantly renewing one-year visas.

While many Africans spoke of leaving Guangzhou in the years leading up to the pandemic, much of the community remained, often rooted by marriages, children, a lack of better opportunity in Africa or elsewhere, and ultimately a sense of home.

While there is no official data on how many Africans in Guangzhou married Chinese women, a walk through the strip malls of Little Africa in recent years made it clear: scores of shops are run by an African husband and his Chinese wife, with their children running down the corridors.

Back in Guangzhou, Nigerian father-of-three Chike says the way he is treated by some Chinese residents in his home city makes him feel they suspect Africans "are the virus. " It's something, he says, he tries not to think about.

Many Africans in Guangzhou, however, report the city's Public Security Bureau has been lenient with visas for those with Chinese partners and children during the pandemic.

Whatever their future, the heyday of African trade, life and love in Guangzhou has produced a generation of African-Chinese children.

Chike, who also has three African-Chinese children under age 13, says while there is "more discrimination" for the family to contend with in recent years, "as long as my kids know who I am, where I'm from," they are free to live in the society they feel will be most beneficial.

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