China’s foreign affairs ministry has called on the US to prevent racial discrimination against minorities.
“We are following the latest developments around the death of Mr. Floyd, Black Lives Matter and their human rights should be protected,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry on Monday.
He added that “the racial discrimination against minorities is a social ill in the United States, what happened again reflects there are serious problems that should be urgently addressed, that is the racial discrimination and violent law enforcement by police.”
Zhao said: “We hope the US government will take concrete measures to fulfil its obligations under the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination to uphold the legal rights of ethnic minorities.”
In response to a question about claims made by US officials stating there was interference from foreign countries including China in current protests Zhao said: “The remarks by [US National Security Adviser Robert] O’Brien and other US officials are just baseless, China does not interfere in other countries domestic affairs.”
Zhao added that he hoped “US politicians can mind their own business.”
Traditionally, Beijing has portrayed racism as a Western problem. But China has come under heavy criticism in recent weeks for its treatment of Africans in the country.
Last month, many Africans were subject to forced coronavirus testing and arbitrary 14-day self-quarantine in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, regardless of their recent travel history, and scores were left homeless after being evicted by landlords and rejected by hotels under the guise of various virus containment measures.
The incident caused a rupture in China-Africa relations, with the foreign ministries of several African nations — and even the African Union — demanding answers from China.
Yet China’s official response stopped short of admitting that the discrimination took place — or apologizing for it.