GUANGZHOU : Crackdown shakes Chinese city's *Little Africa* :

The Ghanaian  university student was roused after midnight  by police shouting and pounding on his door in the  southern Chinese city of Guangzhou-

Where a   crackdown on  illegal immigration  has left many residents of its  ''Little Africa''   neighbourhood  feeling scared and angry............   

After demanding to see his visa,  the agents carefully  checked his papers before leaving to knock on other doors.

Long-term   African residents of  Guangzhou say   they   see   their compatriots lapse into  ''illegal''  status after struggling with onerous visa renewal requirements.

Nigerians must submit criminal record checks for all work and student visas, and no African countries are eligible for 72-hour or 144-hour transit visa exemptions unlike visitors from many other nations.

''My friend had to go home to give fingerprints for a criminal record check.

A return flight cost $2,000. By the time he got his documents in order, his visa expired,'' said Abubakarr Sajor Barrie, director of an import and export company.

''For a small business owner, this is really hard. People start to wonder if doing business in China is worth it and and they go to countries like Turkey and Vietnam instead,'' Barrie said.

In 2013, China amended its legislation governing foreign residents, the exit-entry administration law., adding higher penalties for illegal workers and overstayers without streamlining visa requirements.

While the rules are for all foreigners, Africans lack institutional support in China and face considerable bureaucratic hurdles from their own countries, such as looking online services for  criminal record checks. [AFP]


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