Zambia's Ambassador to China dismissed the reports by some foreign media outlets about Africans being discriminated against because of the novel coronavirus.
Ambassador Winnie N. Chibesakunda called for people to look at China's preservation of life in an exclusive interview with the Global Times on May 20.
Three Chinese nationals were reported to have been allegedly murdered by three local suspects in Zambia's capital Lusaka on May 24, the Chinese Embassy in Zambia said on its website. The crime happened during a robbery staged at a warehouse operated by Chinese nationals, which is suspected partly due to misunderstanding instigated by Western media against Chinese.
US-based Cable News Network reported on April 13 that Africans in Guangzhou were on edge after many were left homeless amid rising xenophobia as China fought a second wave of the coronavirus. However, Chinese authorities and local police have reiterated such reports were unfounded and that the quarantine measures were equal to all residents.
Everybody is in a state of high anxiety during the pandemic and normal people make mistakes and have misunderstandings with each other in dealing with the anxiety, but we should not amplify it as racial discrimination, Chibesakunda said.
Meeting African envoys on April 13, China's Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong reiterated that China treats all foreigners equally under China's virus prevention rules.
"Sometimes, our people or your people make mistakes out of anxiety. It is not good to amplify these small negative points. We should pursue cooperation under a bigger picture," Chibesakunda stressed.
"For any human being, if you want to look into the future and achieve a positive and progressive future, you have to learn to amplify positivity, not negativity," she said.
Chibesakunda believes that this novel coronavirus, which does not discriminate between nationalities or races, does not allow anybody to work in isolation. She called for the world to cast aside political games and put all resources and research together to fight against COVID-19.
Zambia is willing to cooperate with all countries all over the world to fight against the pandemic. However, the BBC's Medical Correspondent Fergus Walsh said during an interview that a team of scientists from Oxford University was working on a coronavirus vaccine that will be tried in Kenya if they don't get early quickly results in the UK.
Chibesakunda felt sorry for people who see African countries as a testing ground for vaccine trials.
"Cooperation with mutual respect is welcomed," she noted, adding that "Africans are not blind. Many Zambians are trained in China and Western countries. Most of us are well-educated and know how to ask why and how."
Africans cannot accept that some countries still regard Africa as a dumping place for anything, she said.
Compared with a lot of countries, Chibesakunda said that China has learned and seen that Africa is different now.
"Chinese people work with us with a lot of respect," she noted.