Thursday, February 22, 2007



The South China Morning Post reports that citizens in Guangzhou, are finding the influx of Africans a little too much to bear.
In the traditional Chinese communities - where cooking a good Durban curry can cause wrinkled noses, and the loudest sound is the clattering of mahjong tiles residents have been aghast at the noise and dirt the newcomers are bringing in.
Flat owners are telling estate agencies not to rent their flats out to Africans, saying the foreigners are dirty, noisy and leave the flats in a bad condition.
The Post reports that the Guangzhou government is trying to find a way of dealing with the surging, and often illegal, foreign population which has been blamed for the city's high rate of crime.
Frustrated residents at Xiatan Xil have put up a notice requesting foreigners to make less noise at night to avoid being a nuisance. Residents were quoted as saying Africans liked to play loud music and sing and dance all night.
A security guard at the Jiazhou Cuiting flats said Africans were not welcome to rent there, but the Huanshi East Road was almost entirely overrun by Africans.
Locals complain about foreigners dirty habits, including littering the passageways of the buildings and causing a health hazard.
Peggy Lubanghe, a Cameroonian who came to Guangzhou as a student six years ago and has since settled down in a middle-class neighbourhood with her Congolese businessman husband, told the Post said she did not blame the Chinese for complaining.
Tianxiu is so dirty. I don’t know why they must all converge on Tianxiu,” she said. “It’s not the only building in China. Guangzhou is very big.
"Why must they all go there?
"I condemn this,” she said.
Ms Lubanghe said many Africans who were in Guangzhou illegally banded together for criminal activities, “destroying the reputation of Africans because the Chinese cannot tell one African from another”.
A Guangzhou police spokesman was quoted as saying that if flat owners decided that they wanted to bar the renting of properties to foreigners, there was no law to stop them.
“We won’t tolerate excessive behaviour, like turning people out, but if they don’t want to rent, we can’t do anything,” he said, adding that the cleanliness issue as well as differences in lifestyle were problems for Guangzhou residents. I personally feel that we may have to regulate and control rental housing," the spokesman said. “Landlords must show their ownership documents and tenants have to show their sponsorship certificates in passports.”
He said Guangzhou was more liberal than Shanghai in dealing with foreigners because Shanghai it did not require foreign tenants to report where they were working.
The spokesman said that police would direct their attention to the control of rental housing, which was a source of crime. "It's not just directed at foreigners," he said. "We are targeting all outsiders,” he said.
Mayor Zhang Guangning has said Guangzhou would step up publicity to educate foreigners about mainland laws as well as educate locals on how to deal with foreigners, and place more people with foreign-language skills in communities to help manage the foreigners.
Guangzhou is right across the border from Hong Kong which boasts a multiracial society although Africans are definitely in the minority and hardly seen outside Kowloon's Nathan Road area and the notorious Chung King Mansions where accommodation is cheap and police raids an almost nightly occurrence.
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