Online posts falsely claimed that Rwandan President Paul Kagame (R) had ordered the deportation of 18 Chinese investors ( AFP / SIMON MAINA)

Old rumour of Rwandan government deporting Chinese nationals resurfaces online

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

An old rumour purporting that Rwandan President Paul Kagame ordered the deportation of Chinese nationals for mistreating local workers has resurfaced online. But this is a false claim that AFP Fact Check has already debunked in the past. Both the Chinese and Rwandan governments previously dismissed the claim in 2020. Two years later, there is still no evidence supporting this claim, and both governments again denied it.

"Breaking News: President of Rwanda General Paul Kagame has ordered for immediate deportation of 18 Chinese nationals (sic)," reads a Facebook post published on June 13, 2022.

The post, which claims to quote a speech from Kagame, purports that the foreigners were “found guilty of mistreating Rwandan workers and grabbing land”.

A screenshot of the false Facebook post, taken on June 22, 2022

The same claim was repeated in other Facebook posts (see here and here) as well as on Twitter and Instagram.

Additionally, South African news site IOL published a report based on the claim headlined: “Here’s why Rwanda’s president ordered for the immediate deportation of 18 Chinese nationals”.

The claim resurfaced online on the day the BBC released the documentary "Racism for Sale", which exposed how a Chinese syndicate of content creators in Malawi filmed black children who were forced to chant racial slurs against black people in Chinese. 

However, there is no evidence to support the deportation claim that has resurfaced on social media.

No deportation

Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo dismissed the claim, noting that no such deportations occurred.

“This is fake news. Didn’t happen,” Makolo said in a tweet, replying to an online user questioned the authenticity of the claim.

Furthermore, Hudson Wang, the Economic and Commercial Chancellor of the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda, noted on Twitter that the claim “is purely a repetition of the same rumour”.

Both the Rwandan and the Chinese governments previously denied the same claim when it appeared in 2020 and again in 2021.

The Chinese Embassy in Rwanda told AFP Fact Check that the two countries “are committed to deepening their bilateral cooperation and bring more benefits to the Chinese and Rwandan people”.

Reports of Chinese nationals mistreating local workers in Africa are not new. Kenya’s interior minister has previously ordered the deportation of four Chinese nationals accused of assaulting a Kenyan restaurant worker in 2020. The scene, which was captured on video, caused outrage on social media. 

In April 2022, a Chinese national was sentenced to 20 years in jail for torturing local mineworkers in Rwanda after a video showing him whipping a man tied to a post went viral on social media.