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Latest update : 2014-12-12

China: An 'Africatown' in Guangzhou

© France 24

With twelve million inhabitants, Guangzhou, in southern China, is the third largest city after Shanghai and Beijing. Like the rest of globalised China, it attracts people from all over the world, among them many Africans. They are drawn there for trade and business but struggle to integrate into Chinese society, where prejudices still run deep.

In just ten years, nearly 200,000 Africans have settled in Guangzhou. All of them hope to strike it rich by exporting low-cost Chinese products to Africa. And business is booming.
But the Chinese do not always approve of them, to the extent that they have nicknamed their neighborhood "Chocolate City”…

This “Africatown” has sprung up in the heart of Guangzhou, where everything from restaurants to nightclubs and hairdressers has been Africanised. It seems to have gone too far for some Chinese, who are overtly racist towards the black population.

Coexistence between the communities is difficult and tensions are on the rise. As our report shows, Africans and Chinese are often involved in fights, and those Africans who are arrested complain of brutal treatment by the police. Even if they speak fluent Mandarin and allow the Chinese to develop their businesses, Africans are not always welcome in Guangzhou.

By Jean-Christophe BRISARD

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