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China: Africans Protest a Suspicious Death in Police Custody

Hundreds of Africans recently took to the street in Guangzhou's Sanyuanli District the day after the suspicious death of a fellow African while in police custody. The protesters demand the police to return the dead body to the African community for an independent autopsy.

It's estimated that there are as many as 200,000 Africans residing in Guangzhou. As a result of the ongoing nationwide campaign “to clean up foreign trash”, many Africans have been unable to renew their visas and have become illegal residents in China. The tension between Africans and police in Guangzhou has peaked in the so-called “chocolate city”, and the Nigerian community has now openly demanded that the Nigerian government set up a consulate in Guangzhou to “eliminate harassment”.

According to a Guangzhou police media briefing yesterday (June 19, 2012) [zh], a conflict between a taxi driver and an African passenger over the taxi fare took place on June 18 at around 1pm. Both persons were brought to the police station for further investigation. At around 5pm the same day, the African fell into a coma and died soon after.

An autopsy report found no signs of bodily injury, however Cam from TheNanfang.com interviewed a 26-year-old Nigerian resident of Guangzhou, Matouvu, who gives a different account of the taxi fare conflict and the Tuesday protest.

Protester holding a placard which reads “Give us the dead body!!!”. Image via Facebook User Konchog Yeshe.

Protester holding a placard which reads “Give us the dead body!!!”. Image via Facebook User Konchog Yeshe.

The African community has rejected the police report and demanded the dead body be returned so an independent autopsy can be arranged.

Chinese public opinion toward the protest is very diversified. Some are sympathetic to the protesters, while some are highly discriminative toward the African community. Below is a selection of some typical comments from one Weibo news thread [zh]:

@碧水涢天0712:本国人经常无故死于派出所,最终不了了之。用同样的方式对待外国人,人家却不和中国人一样吃你这一套。

@碧水涢天0712:Our fellow countryman often die unnaturally in police stations and there usually isn't any investigation. Now you do the same thing to foreigners, of course they will not react like Chinese and accept such practice.

@我拍死砖家:这就是纵容的结果!多年前,我在广东生活,亲眼见过很多黑人在我们 的国土上竟然胡作非为、肆无忌惮,我曾对朋友说:总有一天会养虎为患的。

@我拍死砖家:This is the result of indulgence! Many years ago, I lived in Guangzhou. I saw so many acts of misbehaving committed by black people. I told my friends that we're just feeding the tigers to bite us.

@黄猫sips:这下花几百亿买的的中非友好破裂了

@黄猫sips:The Sino-African friendship that we bought with billions of yuan is now ruined.

@HeAvEn-Ko:真喺要管制下D黑人喺廣州的勢力先得。越嚟越多黑人喺廣州太危險。

@HeAvEn-Ko:we need to contain the black people in Guangzhou. The city is becoming more and more dangerous.

@隔世情缘franch:作为广交会发展的副产物,黑人在广州满大街都是。一直以来,我们与黑人兄弟相称,但他们背后却是若干非洲联合国成员国,涉及到对非洲的大笔支援和投资。牵连到在非洲庞大中方人员的安危!此事件如果真扩大到外交事件,影响不可小觑。前不久查非洲黑人非法居留,马上尼日利亚华人就遭殃,前车之鉴

@隔世情缘franch:The number of black people in Guangzhou is a by-product of Guangzhou's Canton Fair trade exhibition. We're used to calling them brothers. They come from United Nation member states in Africa. We have provided a lot of aid to Africa and have a lot invested there. [Sino-African relations] will affect the security of overseas Chinese. If the incident turns into a diplomatic issue, it could have huge impact on China. Earlier on, when we started cracking down on illegal African residents here, overseas Chinese in Nigeria became the target of attacks. We have to be careful.

@阿笑儿_汤抖森中毒ing:手段不硬起来,黑人区只会越来越庞大。非法入境都遣送回国呗,至于非洲,别只去当金主,没有武力安保,黑人只会抢劫华人,如同宰肥羊一般,就欺负你软,你打得他疼了,让他知道厉害他才会听话。中国一个常任理事国,每年定时去非洲撒钱,还要看这些非洲国家脸色,哼哼,够失败,因为一开始方法就用错了

@阿笑儿_汤抖森中毒ing:If we don't resort to a hard-handed policy, the black people district will continue to expand. Send all the illegal residents back home. We should not just invest in Africa. If we don't have our own security forces, black people will mob Chinese like slaughtering sheep. Beat them up till they feel pain so that they will behave. As a permanent member of the United Nations, China spends a lot of money in Africa every year, so how come we still need to please them? We've been using the wrong approach since the very beginning and now we've become the loser.

@风过痕留:我希望黑人全部都离开中国,中国不需要黑人基因

@风过痕留:I wish all black people would leave China. China does not need their genes.

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