Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

African nations are expressing concern about abusive and discriminatory treatment of Nigerians, Kenyans and other African citizens living and working in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

Why it matters: This is the latest public relations disaster for China amid its widespread propaganda campaign to recast itself as a global health leader, rather than as the origin of a global pandemic.

What's happening: Many African residents in Guangzhou have been subjected to discriminatory coronavirus testing, forced into quarantine or even evicted without cause.

  • The discrimination has gone further: A McDonald's branch in Guangzhou posted a notice saying, "We’ve been informed that from now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant." McDonald's later apologized.

The scenes have created an international uproar. About a dozen African governments have summoned their respective Chinese ambassadors to express outrage at the treatment of their citizens in China.

  • “The singling out of Africans for compulsory testing and quarantine, in our view, has no scientific or logical basis and amounts to racism towards Africans in China,” wrote African ambassadors in Beijing in a joint letter sent to China's Foreign Ministry, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • The speaker of Nigeria's House of Representatives released a video in which he asks the Chinese ambassador to watch a viral clip of Nigerians being mistreated, and then presses him to raise the issue with officials in Beijing and report back "by Monday."

The big picture: Racism against black people is common in China, and it has a history that stretches back decades.

  • In 1988, hundreds of Chinese students in Nanjing rioted in protest of African students who were studying at a local university. More than a dozen people were injured.
  • In 2017, a high-ranking Chinese Communist Party official warned that Guangdong's African population was growing, saying that “black brothers often travel in droves; they are out at night out on the streets, nightclubs, and remote areas" and warned that China was changing from "a yellow country to a black-and-yellow country.”
  • The pandemic is exacerbating underlying racism. Some Chinese people view African countries and their populaces as dirty and "uncivilized," and thus believe wrongly that Africans are more likely to transmit the coronavirus.

But Chinese people are reluctant to admit racism exists in China, said Guangzhi Huang, an assistant professor at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts who researches anti-black racism in China.

  • That's partially because of China's own history of subjugation by Western colonialist powers and the racism suffered by Chinese diaspora communities around the world.
  • "The general public believes that racism is a Western problem because they believe that China is a racially monolithic country," said Huang.
  • "And if they are affected by racism, it is that they are the victims of racism, not the perpetrator. There is a belief that China could never be a racist country," said Huang.

What they're saying: Chinese government officials have responded by denying anything bad is happening in Guangzhou.

  • "It is harmful to sensationalize isolated incidents," the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe wrote in an April 11 statement posted to Twitter. "To misrepresent this as tensions between nations and races is dangerous."

The bottom line: The incidents are undermining Beijing's attempts to rehabilitate its global image after its early handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

  • "If they acknowledge the racist treatment that they have for Africans in Guangzhou, this would hurt the campaign to improve their image," said Huang.

Go deeper: Beijing's coronavirus propaganda blitz goes global

Go deeper

29 mins ago - World

Iran's nuclear dilemma: Ramp up now or wait for Biden

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The world is waiting to see whether Iran will strike back at Israel or the U.S. over the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran's military nuclear program.

Why it matters: Senior Iranian officials have stressed that Iran will take revenge against the perpetrators, but also respond by continuing Fakhrizadeh’s legacy — the nuclear program. The key question is whether Iran will accelerate that work now, or wait to see what President-elect Biden puts on the table.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

U.K. first nation to clear Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

A health care worker during the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial by Pfizer and BioNTech in Ankara, Turkey, in October. Photo: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it's approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which "will be made available across the U.K. from next week."

Why it matters: The U.K. has beaten the U.S. to become the first Western country to give emergency approval for a vaccine that's found to be 95% effective with no serious side effects against a virus that's killed nearly 1.5 million people globally.

3 hours ago - World

Biden says he won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.