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(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-10-23 08:39

African immigrants in China

On the 60th anniversary of New China, I thought how a nation with such a vast population and land can attain such great respect and recognition within 60 years in the world. I have a lot of respect for this great nation and its people and would like to wish China a happy celebration and congratulate the Chinese around the globe for their contribution to the development and peace of the world.

As an African student studying in China, I have had the opportunity to witness the process of its development. I am gaining lot of knowledge that would be of great help to me and to my country and continent when I return home someday after my education. I, however, have some points to raise concerning China's relations with the African immigrants.

First, I have read over the years about how China is helping some countries in Africa in this time of financial crisis and how some big giants in the oil industry are talking about partnering their counterparts in Africa to develop their oil fields. I think these are steps in the right direction and must be encouraged since China seems to genuinely have my continent's development at heart more than the West has. But there is something that I find very troubling, which I would like to bring to the attention of the authorities of this great land. This is in my second point.

I was once been sent to a police station in Guangzhou with some other foreign mates of mine because we did not have our passports for checking. What I found troubling was the abuse we had to endure in the hands of the police officers both in the van and at the station. We waited for the dean of the international school to identify us, who came about three hours later.

Many Africans now live in China, especially in Guangzhou. The majority of us are in trading business, which I believe contributes to the economic growth of China. I admit there are some people who might be doing illegal things. However, I can boldly say that those are just the minority and so their lifestyles must not be interpreted as the behavior of the entire black race, which turns out to be how things are sometimes seen here.

I believe there are Chinese citizens now residing in many African countries and I have personally met a lot of them and have helped them, especially at the airports to fill out arrival forms since most of them have no English knowledge.

We as African immigrants in China are very grateful to China and its people, and wish that our complaints would be listened to. Long live China; long live the entire continent of Africa.

Martin Yeboah, Guangzhou

via e-mail

(China Daily 10/23/2009 page8)