A Nigerian trader examines underwear at a wholesale market in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. Photo: CFP

 The Chinese Embassy in Nigeria released a statement on its website to reaffirm China’s stance on handling African nationals in China’s Guangzhou for epidemic prevention and control, and also clarified a misinterpretation of the Chinese diplomat bowing and apologizing to a Nigerian politician, saying the ambassador was actually looking at a mobile phone on a table.

The statement read that “On April 10, Ambassador Zhou Pingjian met with Rt.Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria at his instance. During the meeting, the Ambassador was offered to watch a mobile phone video clip about the purported improper treatment on some Nigerian citizens in Guangzhou, China.”

The Ambassador made it clear that judging from the one video clip on that mobile phone the approach of the relevant epidemic prevention and control personnel was not inappropriate. 

“We treat all foreign nationals equally in China,” the statement read. “We reject differential treatment and have zero tolerance for discrimination. To prevent and control the pandemic, we need understanding, support and cooperation from both Chinese and foreign nationals in China. 

“We urge all foreigners in China to strictly observe local anti-epidemic regulations. China values her friendly relations with Nigeria. The Embassy stands ready to keep in communication with the Nigerian side in this regard.”

A picture appeared to show the Chinese Ambassador bowing to Gbajabiamila, prompting some Chinese web users on Sunday to allege the body language of the ambassador showed China admitted “wrongdoing” which is not the case in fact.

Such an apology angered certain Chinese net users who felt such body language harmed China’s dignity in front of foreign politicians. 

The statement clarified that “To keep social distance during the pandemic, the said mobile phone with the video clip was placed on the tea table. Any other interpretation of the scene does not conform to what was actually there during the meeting.”

Global Times