The warning has become necessary given rampant cases of ostracisation and plain racism that Nigerians in that country, especially those of them in Guangzhou Province have been subjected to.
In fact, the Federal Government which spoke through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said it had already drawn the red line, and in diplomatic circles, that is a serious language, as Nigerians and other Africans were being forced to through a second round of COVID-19 tests, amongst other discriminatory acts.
Mr Onyeama revealed this much in the course of the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, saying the Nigerians were in addition, being barred from accessing certain services in China.
Recall also that The Eagle recently shared a picture of Africans ostensibly singled out and driven from their Guangzhou apartments with the statement that they were carrying coronavirus.
The minister in his briefing also referred to videos showing Nigerians and other blacks being physically assaulted by Chinese mobs.
According to Onyema, the Nigerian authorities had already engaged the Chinese authorities both at the Consulate and federal levels in China on the matter, but apparently without a favourable outcome.
“Now, we have made it clear to the Chinese government in no uncertain terms, unequivocally, that under no circumstance would we accept racial discrimination against Nigerians or, indeed, Africans or blacks in China; that, that is a red line for us.
: “On medical assistance being provided by China, especially in the context of cases of discrimination or racism that have been taking place in the country, we have been engaging with the Chinese government at various levels, at the level of our Consulate in Guangzhou which is where these cases of racism have been taking place, and also at the federal level in Beijing with our Ambassador and our Embassy there.
“They have in turn told us that there is no case of that ongoing but clearly we are seeing videos; I have received reports and we have told them it is unacceptable and we are also engaging with other African countries to work together and decide on the punitive steps and measures that we would take because of this situation.
“In addition, I have directed our Consulate in Guangzhou to systematically detail every single case of discrimination and every single case of loss or damage suffered by any Nigerian and we will pursue each of the cases very robustly with the Chinese government, if it requires compensation and damages etc.
“So, for us, it is a red line and we are going to fight it to the very end. We are extremely disappointed because we have excellent relations with the government and people of China that such a thing can happen at this stage.
“When there were calls for travels to be banned to China, when they had the outbreak in Wuhan, we went along with the advice of the World Health Organization, WHO, not to place a ban on China and we showed real solidarity because we have also had our own experience of epidemics with Ebola and so on.
“But really, we are deeply wounded by what has happened to Nigerians and other Africans in China. Of course, the government has given us explanations but really, it is something we never expected and we will pursue it to its final conclusion and we will not make any compromises in doing so.
“There have been some comments in the public domain as if we are held somehow hostage by the fact that we have received a lot of economic cooperation from China in the past. But I can assure you that where this is concerned, we are going to pursue it to the very end, irrespective of whatever economic cooperation we have with China because in the world of today, we absolutely will not and cannot tolerate any form of racism or discrimination against blacks, against Africans.
“As the largest black and African country in the world, it behoves us to be in the front line of defending the dignity of blacks and Africans everywhere in the world.”