When Tony Mathias, an exchange student from Uganda, was forced out of his apartment in April in the city of Guangzhou, China, he didn’t realize he was part of a dangerous trend that had kicked off in the southern port city.
“I’ve been sleeping under the bridge for four days with no food to eat…No shops or restaurants will serve me,” the 24-year-old told the AFP news agency. “We’re like beggars on the street.”
On social media, it became clear that Mathias’ experience wasn’t an isolated incident in Guangzhou. With the worst of the coronavirus behind it, local authorities were scrambling to stop overseas travelers from causing a second wave of the outbreak in China’s third-largest city. But it soon became evident that local officials and landlords were not applying caution equally. They were particularly overzealous when it came to Africans.