Big Trouble for Nigerians in China

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I hope this gets to be published because I believe it’s the only way to warn my fellow Nigerians of what awaits them in China. Many of us are stranded in china because of misinformation, our desire to get rich quick, the belief that we can’t make in Nigeria and lies woven by dubious travel agents whose sole aim is to fill their pockets and shove off our youths to any location outside Africa.

China is a big, beautiful country and the most populous in the world, a good place for importers from all over the world to get what they want. Unfortunately, few of them speak English and that is the first hurdle a visitor must jump to get what he wants in a nation of over a million factories and big markets which will make the biggest market in Nigeria to look like a shopping mall.

The most important fact which we all fail to realize before running from Nigeria is that there are no job opportunities in china. None what so ever, don’t let anyone tell you different.

Any Nigerian who wants to reside in china should please get his residence from the Chinese embassy in Lagos or Abuja, because you’ll never get it here in china, no matter what your agent tells you.

I’ve come across fellow Nigerians who were lied to that they’ll get to Japan, Australia, New Zealand etc from china, that china is just a transit point in their search for greener pastures. The unsuspecting sojourner quickly learns on arrival that the pasture is not green, and he begins to lament and regret leaving Nigeria in the first place.

The Chinese prison is filled with Nigerians with immigration problems and most of them have spent minimum of six months in detention. The only way a Nigerian gets to be deported from china is when he pays $2,000 (Two thousand dollars) for his fine and air ticket.  Unfortunately, very few can afford that and the prisons are filled up, especially in Guangzhou city where over 10,000 Nigerians live. I know of a young man who has been in detention now for eight months and his family can’t do anything about it because they sold all they had and even borrowed to send him abroad. He had barely been in china for three months when he was chased down and arrested by the police.

The Chinese police, especially those in Guangzhou city have become so notorious and over zealous in discharging their duties that they sometimes beat up anyone who tries to outrun them. They locate, and break down the doors to apartments where any black man lives in the middle of the night to make sure the occupants are at home. There have been many cases where the occupants have had to jump from balconies of high buildings, breaking legs and bones in the misadventure.  If the occupant(s) of the apartment has his papers, the police just apologize and leave.

Just recently, on 27th September, Mr. Kenneth a well known Nigerian businessman who owns a shop in Tangqi plaza, Guang yuan west road in Guangzhou city was clubbed by local security men who have also assumed the role of immigration police. The unfortunate incident happened in front of Dragon hotel, where Mr. Kenneth had gone to see a visiting Nigerian customer. The security men had apparently thought he didn’t own a valid passport and queried him about it. Witnesses said he explained to them that only the police had the right to ask him for it and tried to walk past and one of them hit him behind the head with an iron club the security are normally armed it, the others joined in. Mr. Kenneth’s business associate and other visiting African business men quickly intervened and the police were called in. they asked for Mr. Kenneth’s passport which was produced and an ambulance was called to rush him to the nearest hospital. He sustained severe head injuries and never got up from his bed. He died on the morning of 8th October. On the evening of the same day, James another Nigerian was also clubbed by a shop owner who owed the Nigerian some money. The shop owner knew that James didn’t have a valid passport and had refused to deliver the goods James had paid for. He opted to scare James away, but James stood his ground and got hit with an iron rod on the waist by the female shop owner, her Chinese servants joined in the attack, though unarmed, Nigerians and other Africans who were nearby quickly rushed in and averted a near tragedy. When the Chinese lady saw that Africans were all over the place and were seriously angry, she quickly called to police who landed in a split second. She told them that she was attacked by James and she defended herself, some Nigerians who were there and could speak mandarin (local Chinese language) told the police that the lady was lying. All these while, the police had ignored James who lay on the ground writhing in pains, then the police did the most bizarre thing, they demanded to see James’ passport and that of the African bystanders who stood there in solidarity. A bystander who identified himself to the police as Mr. Chima Odor, a welfare officer with the Nigerian community in South Korea requested that James be rushed to the hospital first, and that his passport will be provided later. He showed the police his documents and identification; they quickly called in an ambulance and James was rushed to a hospital for treatment. The hospital turned out to be the same one where Mr. Kenneth had died in a few hours earlier. The police asked to shop owner to accompany them to the station. This was all happening around 9pm china time. James received treatment and was then taken back to the police station a few minutes before midnight where he was asked repeatedly to provide his passport before they begin their investigations into the incident. This time, James was alone with an aching back and a handful of pain killers, no Nigerian or African brother to stand behind him. Luckily for him they gave him an option, which was to drop the issue and apologize to the shop owner. If he didn’t, he knew too well where he would end up and no one even knew he had left the hospital. James accepted the “offer” and was allowed out of the police station at about 1am and he quickly took a taxi home before they changed their mind.

This is just one of the injustices illegal immigrants suffer in china. All James has to show for his misadventure a scar in the back. There are many more cases of such injustices, deaths in detention, broken hands and legs, last year a young man was knocked down by a car as he was running from the police.

Anyone who doubts my story should go to Murtala Mohammed International Airport, find out the arrival times of Ethiopian Airways, Kenya airways, and Qatar air, and then wait and see how many Nigerians are being deported from China on daily bases. You can also ask the immigration officers at the airport how many Nigerians have come back recently from China limping or using clutches/walking sticks. Some come back also very sick from their long stay in the underground detention facility they reserve for illegal aliens. Try and interview them and see what they have to say.

The most common crime in the world every country has to battle with is illegal immigrants, but the case here is different. China is a communist country that allows no press freedom; they have zero tolerance for protests/demonstrations, no matter how peaceful.

I implore the Minister of foreign affairs to look into the treatment being meted out to Nigerians here; the federal government should please talk to someone in Beijing so that our people are given some form of respect, no matter how small, because we don’t have any right now.

Many of us desire to go home right now if given the opportunity but where does one get $2000 to pay the Chinese government?

Let’s not forget my major aim of writing this, please, if your brother, father, husband, or son is planning on coming to stay in china, please dissuade him. The grass always looks greener on the other side till you cross over. If you must leave Nigeria, please don’t come here. Over here, we’re always looking over our shoulders; any Chinese man at the bus stop is a possible police officer in plain clothes waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting immigrant.

Attached to this are pictures of the late Mr. Kenneth and the scar on the back of James.



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