The government of Malawi is under pressure to track down undocumented Chinese migrants after a Chinese national living in the country was accused of creating videos that depicted racism against Black people.
Lu Ke, who reportedly admitted and then quickly denied making at least one such video, is the subject of a new BBC Africa Eye documentary called “Racism for Sale.”
In the video, Malawian children in matching shirts are seen chanting phrases such as “I am a Black monster” and “My IQ is low” in Chinese. BBC reporters found that Lu Ke paid the children half a dollar each day to perform for the videos, which he then sold on Chinese social media.
One child in Lu Ke’s videos, now 6, alleged that the Chinese national — whom they call Susu — would pinch and beat them if they did not obey his orders. The BBC probe revealed that he was making 380 videos a day, bringing in 77 million kwacha (approximately $75,300) in sales over social media.
Harry Namwaza, spokesperson for the National Police, confirmed that Lu Ke is now under investigation. But more Chinese nationals could be under probe after advocates raised concerns on illegal immigration.
In a letter, Sylvester Namiwa, executive director for the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), a non-government organization, urged the Ministry of Homeland Security and other government agencies to track all Chinese citizens and give undocumented immigrants 48 hours to leave.
“The move is to ascertain the status of their stay and to verify if needed what they are doing in the country is tallying with the purpose of their coming into the country, as per the documents authorizing their entry and stay in Malawi,” Namiwa wrote.
The Chinese Embassy in Malawi said it has noted the BBC documentary with “great concern,” adding that it strongly condemns racism “in any form, by anyone or happening anywhere.”
“We also noted that the video was shot in 2020. It shall be stressed that the Chinese government has zero tolerance for racism,” the Embassy said in a statement. “In the past years, China has been cracking down on such unlawful online acts and achieved tangible results. We will work with the Malawi side and see to it that this issue be properly addressed.”