Beijing has rejected allegations that it had enacted prejudiced anti-coronavirus policies against Africans in China, describing the accusations as a ploy by Washington to undermine its standing on the world stage.

China values its strong relationship with its “brothers” in Africa, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday, adding that reports of discriminatory acts against foreigners living in the city of Guangzhou were an attempt by the United States to damage Beijing’s relations with African nations.

The Chinese diplomat stressed in a statement released on Sunday that local officials “attach great importance” to concerns raised by some African states about the alleged mistreatment, and that measures were being put in place to guarantee the safety and well-being of all Africans in Guangzhou and the rest of Guangdong province.

Last week, the US consulate in Guangzhou alleged that local officials had ordered bars and restaurants not to serve African clients, purportedly out of fear that foreigners could be infected with coronavirus.

The consulate also claimed that the city was forcing those who came in contact with anyone from Africa to go into quarantine.

US media outlets jumped at the story, prompting African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat to express “extreme concern” over the issue.

He said that he was engaging with Beijing to ensure the preservation of “excellent relations” between China and Africa.

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