An unjust situation seemingly justified by COVID-19…
It seems in certain parts of China there have been mass evictions of foreign students including Zimbabweans, from accommodation houses and hotels, for reasons stemming from COVID-19 tests, and a certain chaos that seems to be associated with them. Apparently due to the need for these tests, foreign students in certain cities and districts are being thrown out of whatever living arrangements they had away from school, and having trouble finding anywhere to live in that city, leading others to even sleep in the streets temporarily. We have a statement below from a first-hand victim of this ordeal, who will stay anonymous for multiple reasons:
I experienced my hugest heartbreak today and knowing that I’m not the only one who went through this today is even more frustrating. All I can say is I can’t wait to go graduate and go back home. So the receptionist at this hotel that we were staying saw my workmate going to get breakfast, called her and told her by 2pm today we should have left the hotel, we are not allowed to stay in Baiyun district according to the police. Just Like That! If my workmate hadn’t gone downstairs early morning, then we would have just known by 2pm that it’s time to leave without packing anything at all. So, the day before, the police came and they were carrying out COVID tests everywhere and that’s when they announced foreigners couldn’t be offered accommodation in hotels or anywhere until the results are out. Then my boss on the other hand, called and apologized for the stress and he is going to do something about it.Every place we to so we could get accommodation, they clearly didn’t want foreigners. We went to one place where they take in people without valid papers and they couldn’t take us in.Then we called my boss and he said this one is now a big problem so we should start making calls, look for a friend with an apartment, go stay there(in a chaotic city where foreigners are being chased away everywhere even apartments).Since I’m a student, I texted my teacher if I could go back to school and she said the city’s policy hasn’t changed it’s still on lockdown so it’s better I go back home, costs you will incur for a 14 day isolation are almost equivalent to your fees and you would better buy a flight ticket, and China has a travel ban and no international flights right now. A lot of people have been chased out of hotels and are sleeping in the streets and it’s raining. Its crazy out here. But only God knows. Somethings that happen to us were not even meant to understand but God inevitably pulls us through.
Further research has had us find out that these acts are apparently also happening in the Guangdong province as well, and while we unfortunately cannot get our hands on any footage at the moment, China-based Zimbabwean students have apparently been sharing videos and pictures of people being evicted on WeChat, with more reports trickling in as the day has progressed. For now the situation is unknown as to whether or not it is temporary, and in typical fashion from China, a lot of the information about this is censored as well. There are reports we heard that some people may have documentation issues in terms of expired VISAS and so on but the person who gave us their report clearly stated that their documentation was in order hence this wouldn’t apply to them. Either way , whatever the justification is to say that this is not right would be an understatement. We have already mentioned more than once now how the fear, prejudice and hate caused by COVID-19 is harming communities and even industries around the world. To now have a direct incident like this happen where international students are being harassed to the point of not having a place to live is appalling. The last thing anyone needs right now in a world facing a pandemic is anyone even uttering the word racism, and yet it would likely seem as if that’s what this is. And one can only imagine the situation these students are in now, where the immediate vicinity of a foreign country rejects you no matter whether or not you fit what seemed to be the basic criteria for accommodation in those areas to begin with. And again, who knows how long this situation will last, especially with the COVID-19 situation persisting. It’s a predicament that no one would want to find themselves in, and a young adult, no matter how old is no different. Now we will all have to unfortunately wait and see where this all goes, especially if anyone at all can even contact anyone influential enough to fix it, whether there in China(which seems unlikely) or here in Zimbabwe, which would mean the government. The following days will tell, and all we can do for now is keep those Zimbabwean students and their peers in our prayers.
We will continue to update you on any significant changes we may find.