Out of Africa and into China, Emigres Struggle

South Africa’s Mail and Guardian reports on the rising tensions between residents of Guangzhou and the growing number of African immigrants moving to their city:

In the past few years, tens of thousands of African and Arab traders have thronged to export hubs such as Guangzhou and Yiwu in eastern China to seek their fortunes — sourcing cheap China-made goods back home to massive markups in a growing, lucrative trade.

But just as mass Chinese immigration abroad has fanned recent social tensions in Africa and other places, the influx of large numbers of foreigners, particularly Africans, into China is altering the social fabric of cities like Guangzhou and proving a headache to authorities.

While this rising tide of foreigners has brought vast economic gains, the edgy cosmopolitanism of melding cultures and liberal ideals has been laced with racial and social tensions, along with the problem of illegal overstayers resorting to crime.

[…] Some neighbourhood committees bar Africans from living in residential complexes, while internet forums such as Tianya buzz with heated, at times xenophobic, discussions of “black person” issues in the city.

[…] On the streets, while explicit racism is rare among conservative Chinese urbanites, fights do sometimes break out between Africans and Chinese over business disputes.

“Racial stereotypes on both sides do exist … it’s indicative of starkly different cultures,” said Martyn Davies, a China expert at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University.

Read more about Africans in China and racism, via CDT.


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