The belief that some races of people are better than others and unfair ways of treating people of different races kind of things are included within the term “Racism”. It happens in different parts of the world in one or the other forms. We still haven’t forgotten the last words of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who was killed in 2014 after being put in a chokehold by a New York City Police Officer. His words still echo “I can’t breathe” which made the world’s step towards the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. Today, we can see racism towards Africans as a common practice. Nigerians and other black skin people even face it daily in the country like China, the second largest GDP holder in the world.

How China is Treating African people

The mindset of locals – They see Africans as inferiors to them based on their black skin colour. Also, according to Chinese locals, these black skin people are made just for dirty work and get involved in criminality, drug trafficking, and other negative behaviours too.

Police behaviour – Chinese police even think and act like they should be deprived of their basic rights and therefore they treat them badly including beating, harassment etc. Police treat them as criminals before even proven. 

Discrimination – Nigerians and other African countries people are getting lower wages offers for the same work, getting unequal treatment at workplace and educational institutes, and need to face denial for rental houses from landlords etc. solely based on their nationality or race.

Recent Incidents of Racism in Nigeria

There are many incidents of racism we can easily find on the internet and many of them are still unreported or not available on the internet. The most recent one is the shutdown of a Chinese supermarket by the officials in Nigeria’s capital Abuja. A few days back, even within the boundary of their own country, Nigerian shoppers faced racism and got their entry denied in the Chinese supermarket just for the reason that they don’t have the “Chinese Descent” in them. How strange it is that people in their own country are facing this kind of racist incidents by foreign people.

Chinese social media is full of hateful content against the Black skin, especially the Africans. But the Chinese officials are not taking the necessary actions to the extent it’s needed and acting blindfolded. They are trying to handle the situation by putting a few words in the media that they support black people and they have good ties with them instead of reacting through actions to solve the problem from the root.

How China is Trapping African Nations in Debt

Most of the countries in the African continent are either underdeveloped or developing. So, they need a huge amount for their development for which they need to take loans from different sources. They have mainly 2 big options as of now. Either they can take a loan from some international institute like the IMF/World Bank or they can take it from China, a country which has become a major lender. China has given loans to many African nations in the past few years. The record says about the total loans given by China is that 39 Chinese lenders provided 1,243 loans amounting to $170.08 billion to 49 African governments and seven regional institutions (The CLA Database estimates from 2000-2022). Due to this China has become the world’s biggest debt collector.

China seems a better option to these countries over IMF-like institutes even after the low-interest rates offered by the IMF compared to China is because of the 2 major reasons:

1. Time taken for loan sanctions – There are many formalities which need to be completed before taking loans from the IMF like signing more contracts with others, getting their approvals and getting IMF approvals etc. But Chinese lenders make it so much easier Chinese have a full system in one place including lenders, industries, factories, and experts. So, the loan taker just needs to sign a paper and you get everything needed. 

2. Human rights conditions – To get a loan from institutes like the IMF, it imposes a list to be implemented beforehand to the creditor country which is many times hard to do for underdeveloped or developing countries. Whereas no such conditions are given by the Chinese lenders which makes them a highly preferable source of loans over international institutes.

Because of these reasons, many countries in Africa take loans from China but get trapped.

Chinese contracts have hidden conditions which the creditor country gets to know only when things go wrong. Also, since they have high-interest rates so many times the country becomes unable to repay loans. This makes creditor nations take difficult steps like giving their infrastructure, land, and port-like things on lease to China for many years. One of the best examples of this is the 99-year lease of the Hambantota port to China.

No doubt, China claims that it is just helping the African nations and there is no theory promoted by them like a debt trap. They also say that this theory was coined just to pave the way to destroy China’s reputation among Western countries. But, if multiple countries are getting into the same problem and if they have to put their things on lease then definitely it’s high time to look into the matter carefully.

China in African Media and Telecommunications

China has started recently investing in Africa’s media and telecommunication sectors. For this, Western countries already alerting African nations for 2 major reasons:

1. Reshape the opinion – China will use African media and telecommunications to reshape the world’s point of view according to its own. China will make its image positive and mould public sentiments against the Western world.

2. Spying – China may be hiding “Backdoors” in their equipment leading to spying on users including African governments, or shielding its own spying efforts elsewhere.

Everything sums up that China is using and exploiting every bit of African nations to use it in their own favour by all means without thinking anything good of the African continent at all. Also, most of the Chinese have strong emotions of racism against black skin which needs the attention of the government urgently.

By thewonk