The Wall Street Journal (clip below), CNN and a number of other sources are reporting that at least 100 Africans were involved in protests over immigration enforcement in China. The spark was apparently the death of a Nigerian who was killed during an immigration raid.
China’s increasing ties with Africa is a subject that I am turning to in my current research. But while my own research–and that of many others–tends to focus on China’s impact on Africa, we may neglect the potential for Africans to impact China. This is a small reminder that there is a story to be told. According to The Guardian, an estimated 20,000 Africans live in Guangzhou (the site of the unrest).
China has seen its fair share of anti-foreigner protests, from the Boxer Rebellion to the May Fourth movement, and, in more recent decades, more generically termed demonstrations against Americans, Africans, Japanese and the French.
Yet for all the expat grumbling about living in China, public protests by foreign residents are virtually unknown, perhaps tempered by the awareness that we are here by choice, live in relative comfort, and would likely achieve little more than a swift deportation.
But, reflecting the very different world in which some migrants live, Wednesday saw a rare protest by over 100 African residents of the southern city of Guangzhou.
According to Xinhua, at least one person died during a brawl that erupted after police raided a Guangzhou clothing market to check passports and visas.
The BBC (see below) is reporting that the South African government may be bowing to pressure from China in its decision to block the Dalai Lama’s entry. If true (and what other reason could there be?), it is yet another signal that doing business with China carries its own conditions. And if South Africa cannot stand up to such pressures, what other African states can?
South Africa ‘blocks’ Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama was due at a peace conference this week
The South African government has defended its decision to deny entry to the Dalai Lama, amid charges it is bowing to pressure from China.
The Tibetan spiritual leader was due to attend a peace meeting in Johannesburg this week, along with fellow Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu and FW de Klerk.
But the authorities have not granted an entry visa, saying the invitation did not come from official channels.
Archbishop Tutu has threatened to pull out of the conference over the issue.
Speculation is rife in the local media that the government caved in to pressure from Beijing.