Guangzhou Mayor Says City Home to Few Africans, Ebola Fears Overblown

Charles Liu , January 24, 2015 3:11pm (updated)

guangzhou african community

Guangzhou is the home of the largest concentration of African expats outside of Africa in Asia, which means the city is rife with rumors of Ebola eventually spreading to the city. To ease the paranoia, the Guangzhou government today gave official statistics on the number of Africans in the city, and it’s much lower than some estimates that put it as high as several hundred thousand.

According to local officials, there were just 16,000 African expats living in Guangzhou as of October 22. In comparison, there are 57,000 expats from Asian countries and 22,000 from European ones for a total expat population of 118,000. Guangzhou deputy mayor Xie Xiaodan who said during an October press conference that it’s a common misperception that Guangzhou has many Africans. “[Many of China’s African residents] come to Guangzhou for business during the day and return [to cities around Guangzhou] during the night,” Xie was quoted as saying.

Previous estimates of the African community in Guangzhou numbered around 200,000, with many resident said to be staying illegally. Naturally these people wouldn’t show up in government statistics.

Guangzhou has been working hard to prevent an Ebola outbreak. Travelers arriving from Ebola-stricken countries like Sierra Leone, Guinea, or Liberia were given cell phones and instructed to contact health authorities in the event that they come down with any symptoms related to the illness.


Photo: nanjiang

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor