French Media Finds Videos Purportedly Showing Violence Against Africans In China are Old, Out of Context


Monrovia – In early April this year, news spread that many Africans living in Guangzhou, China were being thrown out of their homes because of rumors that migrants were high risks of spreading a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in the southern Chinese city.

As the news spread across the world, there were videos going viral in a bid to substantiate these claims. But according to France 24, a European media institution, some of the videos purportedly showing violence and discrimination towards Africans in China are fake video that have no relations with the COVID-19 regulations that were been implemented by the Chinese government.

According to the article, these are old videos that captured incidents that happened long before the coronavirus pandemic.  

In one of the videos, a group is seen beating up a black man with an iron bar. The group of people was savagely beating a black man lying on the ground, his face covered with blood. Captions and comments on the video made it seem like the man had been beaten because of the COVID-19 rumors that were circulating in Guangzhou.

However, in reality, there is no way that this savage and awful beating has anything to do with the pandemic because this video was filmed in 2016. When France 24 double checked the video through a search using InVid, they found that the same video was posted few years back.

It was back in 2018 when this same video was widely circulated alongside a caption claiming that a 25-year-old Zambian student was killed for having a relationship with a Chinese woman. However, France 24 also found that the video was even posted online.

A better-quality of the same video, which is a slightly longer version, also includes footage of the same scene filmed at a different angle. It was determined that the video was posted back in August 2016, with a completely different story. That post claimed that shopkeepers in Kuching, Malaysia were beating up a man who they caught trying to rob their shop.

With these conflicting accounts about the video, it is difficult to verify the real story behind the incident that was captured in the video. However, some say it is being used as a propaganda video against the Chinese. But one thing that is clear about the video is that it is an old footage that has nothing to do with COVID-19.

Another video shows a street fight between a group of black men and a group of Asian men. This video has garnered hundreds of thousands of views on Twitter. One of the In the video, one of the Asian men seems to be brandishing a kitchen knife.

“In Guangzhou, Chinese people beat up Africans who they blame for allegedly bringing back coronavirus,” reads the translated caption on the video.

Although those spreading the video claimed the incident occurred in China, the video was actually recorded within a place in New York, United States of America. The incident happened long before the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the investigation into the origins of this video, the fact-checking team at AFP Fact Check observed that the hospital sign and the front of a shop that appear in the video means it was recorded in the Bronx, New York.

This same video was posted to social media forum on March 18, which was a long time before reports emerged that Africans were being allegedly discriminated against in China because of rumors that they were spreading COVID-19.

In a third video that has also gone viral on social media, a shopkeeper, who looks like Asian, is seen in the video getting punched in the face. This video was taken out of its original context, according to a facts check by France 24.

This footage shows a black man hitting an Asian shopkeeper. The video was posted to Facebook on April 14, 2020 with the caption, “Chinese people are starting to pay the price for their racism” and it garnered more than 170,000 views.

However, when France 24 ran the video through a search using InVid, they pulled up posts of the same video posted in early November 2018.  According to several Kenyan media outlets reported that the recording was done after the man in the video got angry when the shopkeeper called him a monkey. However, other sources said the incident took place in Angola, which is likely as the people in the video are speaking Portuguese.

The Chinese government promised that provincial authorities would attach “great importance” to the concerns of some African countries, and said they were working to improve quarantine measures, including providing special accommodation for foreigners required to medical observation.

Mr. Xu Kun, Deputy Chief of Mission of the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Monrovia, recently said his government has “zero tolerance for discrimination”.

In a recent interview, Mr. Xu stressed that reports that Liberians are being maltreated in China are untrue.  “Chinese officials wish to inform the Liberian government and people that these reports were taken out of context, failing to reflect the whole picture of the news,” he said in an interview with the Liberian News Agency recently.