Rumor Buster: Is China treating foreign nationals equally in anti-pandemic measures?

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-13 16:30:35|Editor: huaxia

A Pakistani student (L) studying in China talks with medical staff after his recovery at a Guangzhou 8th People's Hospital in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, Feb. 12, 2020. (Photo by Wang Yan/Xinhua)

"All foreigners are treated equally. We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination," said a foreign ministry spokesman.

BEIJING, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Rumors have been circulating that China is discriminating against foreign nationals in the country, particularly Africans, in its anti-pandemic measures. China's Foreign Ministry has said that China treats all foreign nationals equally and has zero tolerance for discrimination.

Faced with COVID-19, an abrupt global public health crisis, all countries are taking containment measures to prevent the pandemic from spreading further, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Sunday when commenting on South China's Guangdong Province's anti-pandemic measures concerning African citizens in China.

A staff member reminds foreigners to fill in an arrival card at Qingdao Liuting International Airport in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, March 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Ziheng)

"While overcoming difficulties at home, we also give love and care to all African citizens in China, especially African students," he said.

"During our fight against the coronavirus, the Chinese government has been attaching great importance to the life and health of foreign nationals in China," he said.

"All foreigners are treated equally. We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination," the spokesperson noted.

A foreign passenger prepares to board the transfer vehicle at the New China International Exhibition Center in Beijing, capital of China, March 17, 2020. (Xinhua/Peng Ziyang)

For example, China's southern coastal province of Guangdong has demanded all arrivals from overseas to undergo concentrated quarantine and nucleic acid testing (NAT) starting from 6:00 a.m. on March 27 (2200 GMT on March 26), in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Travelers from overseas, including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, are quarantined in designated places for 14 days. Quarantine expenses are paid for by the travelers themselves, according to the office of the provincial epidemic prevention and control headquarters.

Foreigners eat snacks at a night market in Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan Province, March 26, 2020. (Xinhua/Guo Cheng)

Since the outbreak, the Guangdong provincial government has attached high importance to the treatment of foreign patients, including African nationals, and has saved the lives of a number African patients in severe or critical condition in the process.

The measures taken include providing health management services without differentiation, designating hotels for foreigners required to undergo medical observation, setting up effective communication mechanisms with foreign consulates-general in Guangdong Province's capital of Guangzhou, and rejecting all racist and discriminatory remarks.

"African friends can count on getting fair, just, cordial and friendly reception in China," Zhao said.

The pandemic is a challenge to all humankind, and can only be defeated through concerted international efforts, he said, calling for "mutual understanding, mutual support and cooperation" and stressing China is "ready to continue working with African friends to achieve the final victory."