Sunday, 2 February 2020


Chinese Abroad Become Targets of Suspicion Over Coronavirus

Some businesses have sought to exclude Chinese people, particularly in places known to host tourists from China

  • SAVE
  • TEXT
As a new coronavirus spreads beyond China’s borders and foreign governments begin to erect entry bans, Chinese travelers and communities overseas are becoming targets for anger, sometimes in ways that are amplifying long-held biases and anti-Chinese sentiments.
Tourists from southern China spent an evening holed up in their hotel in Bukittinggi, a scenic town on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, last weekend . Outside, demonstrators wearing face masks held up a banner that said locals reject the arrival of the Chinese and urged vigilance about the virus.
The men agreed to end their demonstration when police assured them the visitors wouldn’t leave the hotel until their departure from the town the following day, said  Yulhendri Mangkuto, one of the demonstrators. The tourists’ plans to visit another town were canceled after residents there also raised objections, according to a tourism official.
In the capital Jakarta, a government-appointed ombudsman, Laode Ida, said last week that Chinese workers should be denied access to Indonesia. “There’s a flow of lots of laborers from China to Indonesia; there should be a moratorium,” he said.
A health official checks the body temperature of a worker at PT Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park. In Indonesia, inflows of Chinese nationals to build infrastructure and work in Chinese-owned factories have long stoked tensions. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
The World Health Organization, which declared a global public health emergency after the number of cases rose above 8,000 and reached around 20 countries, has said there is no reason to limit travel or trade because of the outbreak. Still, foreign governments, including some that have yet to report a confirmed case, have imposed restrictions or bans on entry for Chinese nationals or travelers from China.
The U.S., which has at least seven confirmed cases, on Friday said it would deny entry to foreign nationals who had recently visited China and quarantine Americans who had recently visited Hubei, the province at the center of the outbreak. Among other countries, Singapore, Australia and Vietnam have also imposed restrictions.
Singapore, after having banned travelers from Hubei, on Friday became the first Southeast Asian nation to bar foreign nationals who had been in China in the past 14 days and began denying visas to all Chinese passport holders. The country has 18 confirmed cases, one of the highest totals outside China.
Lawrence Wong, co-chair of a Singapore government task force on the coronavirus, said the additional restrictions were to “limit the number of new imported cases here and to reduce the risk of community spread in Singapore.”
The governments have said they were acting to reduce risk of infection for their citizens. But some health experts say these responses aren’t helpful and contradict the WHO’s guidance to not limit travel.
“What happens is that there is a lot of political pressure to do something and that something always ends up being travel bans, which makes things paradoxically worse,” in part because it could make it harder to get medical resources into China, Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, said.
China’s foreign ministry on Friday said Hubei natives were facing “actual difficulties” overseas and would repatriate citizens who wanted to return to the country. It criticized the U.S. restrictions.

No comments:

Post a comment