A racist detergent ad — featuring a young Chinese woman stuffing a black man into a washing machine only to be delighted at the Chinese man who emerges at the end of the wash cycle — provoked outrage in China last year. It is but one indication of the rising intolerance towards Africans living in China — and could be a driver of their subsequent exodus. The 1997 Asian economic crisis caused some African traders to relocate their businesses from Thailand and Indonesia to the Chinese port city of Guangzhou. There, a predominantly male business community of mostly Malian, Congolese, Nigerian and Guinean expats, but also Angolans, Burkinabé, Somalis and others, settled in a 7km stretch that swiftly became known as Little Africa. Their numbers have increased to perhaps 100,000, making it the largest African settlement in Asia. They built a bustling market in the central square of Little Africa, but few African traders in Guangzhou were hawkers of low-end goods. Ghanaian professor Adams B...

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