McDonald's apologises after China outlet bans black people
BEIJING US fast food chain McDonald's has apologised after a sign telling black people they were banned from entering a branch in southern China prompted outrage online, following reports of discriminatory treatment towards Africans in the area.
Tensions have flared between the police and Africans in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou after local officials announced a cluster of Covid-19 cases in a neighbourhood with a large migrant population.
As the row escalated, posts shared online showed a sign at fast food chain McDonald's saying black people were not allowed to enter the restaurant.
The chain apologised and a spokesman for McDonald's told AFP the notice was "not representative of our inclusive values".
In an e-mailed statement, Mcdonald's said it removed the sign and temporarily closed the Guangzhou restaurant "immediately upon learning of an unauthorised communication to our guests".
Several Africans have told AFP they had been forcibly evicted by the police from their accommodation, refused service at shops and restaurants, and were subject to mass testing and arbitrary quarantines.
The row has also prompted a diplomatic flurry, with ambassadors and envoys from more than 20 African countries meeting assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong on Monday.
Mr Chen promised at the meeting to "lift the health management (measures) on African people, except the confirmed patients", according to a foreign ministry statement.
A total of 111 African nationals in Guangzhou have tested positive for Covid-19, including 19 imported cases, said the city's executive vice-mayor on Monday, according to Xinhua.
He said that 4,553 Africans had undergone nucleic acid testing in Guangzhou since April 4.
City officials also said on Sunday that 4,553 African nationals are currently living in Guangzhou - suggesting every African registered in the city has been tested.
Meanwhile, China's north-eastern border province of Heilongjiang saw 79 new cases of imported coronavirus cases on Monday, all Chinese citizens travelling home from Russia, state media said.
China has reported 82,249 coronavirus cases and 3,341 deaths. It reported no new deaths yesterday. - AFP, REUTERS