Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday that the United States is being immoral and irresponsible by "telling lies" after a US State Department spokesperson reportedly accused the Chinese authorities of "abuse and mistreatment of Africans living and working in China".
"We don't discriminate against our African brothers," Zhao said, adding that Guangdong province has taken a series of measures to address the concerns of African people in the region.
He said he believed the issue will be properly resolved with efforts made by the Chinese and African sides, and he urged the US to focus its efforts on containing the novel coronavirus outbreak.
He said any attempt to sow discord between China and African countries will not succeed.
China treats all foreigners equally, objects to any kind of differential treatment targeting certain groups of people, and tolerates no discrimination, Zhao said in a statement issued Sunday night.
Since the start of the outbreak, the authorities in Guangdong province have attached great importance to the medical treatment of all foreign confirmed cases, including African people, Zhao said.
The Foreign Ministry will continue to communicate closely with the Guangdong authorities to respond to reasonable concerns of the province's African residents.
"The Chinese people always see in the African people partners and brothers through thick and thin. ... African friends can count on getting a fair, just, cordial and friendly reception in China," Zhao said.
Zhao also said that China has provided a large amount of medical supplies to the African Union and African countries to contain COVID-19, including test kits, face masks, protective clothing, goggles and ventilators.
China will continue to support African countries to the best of its ability, he said.
As China is under mounting pressure posed by imported COVID-19 cases, Zhao said that it hopes to work with African countries, through "mutual understanding, mutual support and cooperation", to stop the spread of the virus.
Yang Rihua, deputy chief of the Guangdong's public security department, said at a news conference on Sunday that 117,000 foreigners live in the province.
Of them, 60,800 are from Asia, 28,900 from the Americas, 15,700 from Europe, more than 6,700 from Africa and over 4,700 from Oceania, according to Yang.
All foreigners in Guangdong should strictly abide by the law and cooperate actively with the authorities in their disease control efforts, he added.
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