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2020 in Review: The Impact of the “Guangzhou Incidents”

This April’s outburst of discrimination against Black and African residents in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou marked a seminal event in China-Africa relations this year. Dozens, possibly hundreds of Black and African residents were evicted from their homes and hotels in mid-April in response to a COVID-19 inspired crackdown by municipal authorities.

Images and videos of mostly young African men sleeping on the streets of Guangzhou, being accosted by police, and refused entry to local businesses, most notably at a McDonald’s, filled African social media and enraged people across the continent.

Those events, now known as “Guangzhou Incidents,” drew worldwide attention — both about what happened in southern China and the Chinese government’s response that combined a mix of denialcontrition, and accusations that the U.S. was somehow complicit.

While the story made international headlines, few outlets covered it with the depth and nuance than Blacklivity China, an online community dedicated to all aspects of the African diaspora in China. Two of Blacklivity China’s managers, Saron Tamerat and Co-Founder Runako Celina join Eric & Cobus to share their reflections on the “Guangzhou Incidents” and what impact it had on the larger China-Africa relationship.

Show Notes:

Follow Blacklivity China:

Web: | Twitter: @blacklivitycn | Instagram: @blacklivitychina | Facebook: @BlackLivityChina

About Runako Celina and Saron Tamerat:

Runako Celina is a journalist and the co-founder of Black Livity China, a platform that documents the experiences of Africans and people of African descent in China and in relation to China. She holds an MA in International Politics and African Studies from Peking University and spent two years working for Star Times and TCL in Beijing where she has lived and resided for the last 7 years.

 Saron Tamerat the co-manager of Black Livity China, a platform that documents the experiences of Africans and people of African descent in China and in relation to China. She studied Economics and graduated from South China University of Technology. She has resided in Guangzhou for 5 years where she worked with the Africa-Guangdong Business Association. 

What is The China-Africa Project?


The CAP is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Africa stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalist and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Africa discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.