By Charles Kumolu
Pan-African initiative, Freedom Movement, has called on Chinese authorities to apologise to Africans and blacks globally for using COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to maltreat coloured people residing in China.
It also urged African leaders and Africans not to remain silent on the matter, noting that doing so would encourage the occurrence.
Disclosing these last week in Accra during a solidarity procession, Founder of the body, Freedom Jacob Ceaser, said he was surprised that China was yet to publicly denounce the maltreatment of blacks.
Freedom, an industrialist, said the event which took place at Black Star Square in Accra, Ghana, was as a sign of solidarity with Africans in China.
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His words: “As a concerned global citizen, I was deeply disturbed by the treatment I saw being meted out to black people in China. They were being evicted from their homes, forced into quarantine and even being denied admittance to restaurants, hotels and other businesses. I was also surprised that even despite the close relationship between China and most African countries, there hasn’t been any public denouncement or apology from the authorities. I felt the need to use my voice to let the world know that Covid-19 simply cannot be used as an excuse to dehumanize or deny the civil rights of black people in China or any other nation.
‘’ Although African diplomats in China have expressed concerns to officials there, this maltreatment is an issue for every black person in the world. Anyone of us from the continent or the diaspora whether he is from Jamaica, America, France, or Nigeria living in or travelling to China might suffer these same abuses. If we simply remain silent, this treatment and disrespect will continue and even become more widespread in China and other countries. Black people are not animals as we have been depicted in museums and galleries in China and these actions are unacceptable considering the eminent value that Africa and our resources play in global economies and supply chains.
“Ghana has gained a reputation as a model of democracy in Africa and freedom of speech is a fundamental principle that is supported in our democracy. Young Africans and young black people globally need to understand the power of our collective voices to effect peaceful change. I will continue to use my voice and platform to change perceptions of Africa, build unity and forge deeper connections between Africa, the West and the East.
“I believe that this virus does not know gender, race, religion, age, or colour and this could be a sign telling the world that we are all equal and need to come together as one world and one universal people to overcome the crisis and restore humanity.”
During the procession, placards with captions such as “Africa is a Beacon of Hope” and “Africa is separated by culture but united by colours,” were displayed by participants who maintained social distancing and wore face masks inscribed with the words: ‘Freedom of Speech”.