The Federal Government said yesterday it has drawn the red line with China over allegations of continued racial discrimination against blacks and Africans, particularly Nigerians, resident in Guangzhou Province and other parts of the country.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed this during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
There have been reports that Nigerians and other blacks are being forced to undergo a second round of COVID-19 tests, while they are also barred from accessing certain services in China.
This is in addition to videos showing Nigerians and other blacks being physically assaulted by Chinese mobs.
Onyeama noted that the Federal Government has engaged Chinese authorities both at the Consulate and federal levels in China to ensure that Nigerians are treated with utmost respect and dignity.
“Now, we have made it clear to the Chinese government in no uncertain terms, unequivocally, that under no circumstance would we accept racial discrimination against Nigerians or, indeed, Africans or blacks in China; that, that is a red line for us.
“They have in turn told us that there is no case of that ongoing but clearly we are seeing videos; I have received reports and we have told them it is unacceptable and we are also engaging with other African countries to work together and decide on the punitive steps and measures that we would take because of this situation.
“In addition, I have directed our Consulate in Guangzhou to systematically detail every single case of discrimination and every single case of loss or damage suffered by any Nigerian and we will pursue each of the cases very robustly with the Chinese government, if it requires compensation and damages etc.
“So, for us, it is a red line and we are going to fight it to the very end. We are extremely disappointed because we have excellent relations with the government and people of China that such a thing can happen at this stage.
“There have been some comments in the public domain as if we are held somehow hostage by the fact that we have received a lot of economic cooperation from China in the past. But I can assure you that where this is concerned, we are going to pursue it to the very end, irrespective of whatever economic cooperation we have with China because, in the world of today, we absolutely will not and cannot tolerate any form of racism or discrimination against blacks, against Africans.
“As the largest black and African country in the world, it behoves us to be in the front line of defending the dignity of blacks and Africans everywhere in the world.”