A Chinese restaurant in Kenya’s capital Nairobi has been operating a “no African after 5 p.m.” policy that was exposed in a local newspaper report on Monday.
Reporters from the Daily Nation said they were turned away at 7 p.m. when they tried to enter the eatery. Here are two excerpts from the article:
The restaurant, simply known as the Chinese Restaurant, and located at the junction of Galana and Lenana roads, does not admit Africans after 5pm. Only taxi drivers or Africans accompanied by Chinese, European, or Indian patrons are allowed into the compound.
Ms Esther Zhao, the relations manager, said the restaurant stands by its strict "no-African after 5pm" policy because Africans pose a security threat to its Chinese patrons. She said the patrons feel safer and more comfortable if African patrons are locked out. "We don't admit Africans that we don't know because you never know who is Al-Shabaab and who isn't," she said.
The restaurant’s policy outraged many Kenyans, some of whom tweeted using the hashtag #RacistRestaurant. Here is a Nairobi county senator:
Some tweets contained racist slurs against Kenya’s Chinese community. This China-Africa analyst based in Kenya tried to halt such comments by pointing out that the restaurant's rules didn't represent most Chinese people's views.
And some Kenyans, such as this human rights activist, argued that the country had far bigger problems to worry about.
Many African countries have seen a rise in Chinese residents over the last 10 years as China's investment in and trade with the continent has boomed. More than 1 million Chinese people have moved to Africa over the last decade and this big migration has inevitably caused some social tensions, The Economist reported in January.
The restaurant's owner, Zhao Yang, was charged with operating a restaurant without a valid license just hours after the Daily Nation's story came out, The Guardian reported. Zhao faces a prison term of 18 months or a fine of more than $1,000 if found guilty, according to The Guardian.
On Tuesday evening, NTV Kenya reported that the restaurant had been closed down.
Shyamantha Asokan is a foreign news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Shyamantha Asokan at email@example.com.
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