McDonald's Apologizes for Sign Banning Black People from One of their Restaurants in China

McDonald's apologized Saturday for a racist sign posted in one of its restaurants in China.

A McDonald's restaurant in China's southwestern port city of Guangzhou posted a laminated sign that read, "Notice: We've been informed that from now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant."

"For the sake of your health consciously notify the local police for medical isolation, please understand the inconvenience caused," the sign advised black patrons.

McDonald's has since removed the sign, closed down the location and issued a statement that the sign was "not representative of our inclusive values."

Again, for those who still doubt that Black people and particularly #AfricansinChina are being targeted we feel it is our duty to share this. A sign at a @McDonalds restaurant seems to make this perfectly clear

— Black Livity China (@BlackLivityCN) April 11, 2020

"McDonald's China apologizes unreservedly to the individual and our customers," McDonald's spokeswoman, Regina Hui said Saturday. McDonald's has since pledged to use the sign incident to "further educate managers and employees on our values, which includes serving all members of the communities in which we operate."

Newsweek has reached out to McDonald's. The company hadn't responded by the time of publication.

However, the sign is merely one instance of increasing racism in the city as Chinese citizens openly blame African natives for spreading coronavirus. Concurrently, national politicians have called for more scrutiny of foreigners, fearful of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

Guangzhou has China's largest African community of about 4,500 individuals. Over the past two weeks, African residents say they've faced forced evictions, rejections from hotels, involuntary testing without results and sequestration into two-week long quarantines even if they test negative for the virus, haven't recently traveled or had no contact with any individuals known to be infected with COVID-19.

McDonald's China
A McDonald's brand fast food in the Chinese capital on February 28, 2018 in Beijing, China. Vincent Isore/IP3/Getty

The Washington Post says social media posts from African people in Beijing and Shanghai allege being barred from entering bars and restaurants on police orders. Photos and videos on social media claim to show Africans sleeping on the streets after their evictions or being herded away by police.

The speaker of Nigeria's House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and Ghana's Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, have both condemned the racist treatment. Other African politicians have demanded explanations from Chinese officials and asked for assurances that such discriminatory treatment will end.

However, African residents in China say that the epidemic has merely caused long-simmering xenophobia and racism to boil over.

Last month, China banned all foreigners from entering the country even though about 90 percent of new coronavirus cases had come from Chinese citizens returning from Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East, according to The Post.

"Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, China and African countries have always supported each other and have always fought against the virus jointly," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Thursday.

"I would like to emphasize that the Chinese government treats all foreigners in China equally, opposes any differentiated practices targeted at specific groups of people, and has zero tolerance for discriminatory words and actions," Lijian continued.