China on Thursday said it treats “all foreign nationals equally” after reports of discrimination against Africans in Guangdong province emerged earlier this week.

“We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination,” Chinese Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, said at a press briefing.

Hundreds of Africans including businessmen living in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province, have been evicted from their hotels and apartments when local authorities launched a coronavirus testing campaign.

“They accuse us of having the virus,”Victor Tobenna, a Nigerian student in Guangzhou said, according to the BBC.

However, while noting that the Chinese government was aware of the reports Lijian stressed that China and African countries have been supporting each other in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“Countries all over the world are taking measures to contain the pandemic,” he said. “In China, our most urgent task is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from both within and (outside) the country.

“To meet this goal, we need understanding, support and cooperation from both Chinese and foreign nationals in China.

“In the meantime, we pay high attention to the incidents and misunderstanding occurred in this process. We urge relevant authorities to improve their way of work, and hope all foreigners in China will strictly observe local anti-epidemic regulations, and cooperate with and support us in fighting the virus. Together we will achieve the final victory.”

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