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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson: We Have Zero Tolerance for Discrimination

On April 7 and 9, 2020, Spokesperosn Zhao Lijian of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China Made Comments on Recent Media Report of Foreigners Complaining about Discrimination in China.

April 9, 2020, Regular Press Conference

CCTV: As people are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, some media say there has recently been discrimination against Africans in Guangdong. Can you comment on that?

Zhao Lijian: Since the COVID-19 outbreak, China and African countries have been supporting each other in fighting the pandemic. We won't forget the support voiced and provided by African countries and their people when we were at the most crucial stage of the fight. Now we are closely following the situation in Africa. The Chinese government and people are doing our best to help them. Faced with the severe test of epidemics, China and African countries are united more than ever, demonstrating brotherhood in times of adversity.

As for what you mentioned, we noted reports on that. I'd like to stress that we treat all foreign nationals equally in China. We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination.

Countries all over the world are taking measures to contain the pandemic. In China, our most urgent task is to prevent imported cases and domestic resurgence. To meet this goal, we need understanding, support and cooperation from both Chinese and foreign nationals in China. In the meantime, we pay high attention to the occasional incidents and misunderstandings in this process. We urge relevant authorities to improve working methods, and hope all foreigners in China will strictly observe local anti-epidemic regulations, and cooperate with and support us in fighting the virus. Together we will achieve the final victory.

April 7, 2020, Regular Press Conference

Xinhua News Agency: Some media said that since China tightened the immigration control measures for foreigners to prevent imported cases, there have been reports of some foreigners complaining about discrimination and rising xenophobia in China. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: I would like to make clear three points.

First, China always attaches great importance to the safety and health of foreign nationals in China and protects their legitimate rights and interests in accordance with law. Viruses are heartless but humans not. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, relevant departments and local governments in China have made every effort to meet the living, epidemic control and medical needs of foreign citizens in China, and provided timely treatment to those infected with COVID-19. The vast majority of foreign citizens in China highly appreciate the Chinese people's efforts and outcomes in fighting the epidemic. They expressed sincere gratitude for being taken care of, and they have been cooperating with us in epidemic prevention and control. Many even volunteered to join the ranks of China's fight against the epidemic, leaving us touching stories of Chinese and foreign friends working together to tide over the difficult times.

Second, China opposes all forms of discrimination and prejudice. In light of the development of the epidemic, China has promptly adjusted the quarantine and prevention and control measures for foreign nationals entering into China. These are temporary measures that China has to take in response to the current situation by referring to the practices of many countries. China has to do so because we must be responsible for our own people and foreign citizens as well. We always treat foreign nationals and Chinese citizens alike, implement measures without discrimination, give full consideration to the legitimate concerns of the persons concerned and respect their religions and customs. We do not increase or reduce certain regulations on someone just because they are foreign citizens.

Third, all foreigners in China should strictly abide by the Law of the People's Republic of China on Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, as well as other laws and local regulations on epidemic prevention and control. We hope foreign citizens in China will continue to fully understand and cooperate with China's epidemic control measures to prevent risks and protect the health and safety of themselves and others. That is their way to contribute to the final victory over the epidemic.

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