The Case of African International Students in China at the Height of COVID-19

International Higher Education’s Institutional Silence on Anti-Blackness


  • Raymond Agyenim-Boateng Lingnan University
  • Ashley N. Watson SUNY Geneseo & University of Minnesota-Twin Cities



African international students, anti-Blackness, China, COVID-19


This scholarly reflection centers the experiences of African international students hosted in China during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Media coverage and photos of African student maltreatment during the first and second waves of COVID-19 are compiled after a cursory commentary of Sino-African relations. In the midst of soaring anti-Asian hatred around the world, African international students were discriminated against and subject to inhumane treatment across China. We acknowledge both of these violences coexist and call on critical interculturalist and agents of internationalization to consider issues of global anti-blackness and adopt an intersectional lens in studying international students’ experiences. 

Author Biographies

Raymond Agyenim-Boateng, Lingnan University

RAYMOND AGYENIM-BOATENG, is a PhD candidate in Applied Psychology focusing on social and cross-cultural Psychology at Lingnan University. His research interest extends across intergroup relations, social identity, prejudice reduction and inclusion in international higher education. Email:

Ashley N. Watson, SUNY Geneseo & University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

ASHLEY N. WATSON, M.S.Ed., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at SUNY Geneseo and a PhD candidate in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development with an emphasis in Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Her interdisciplinary scholarship explores identity formation in higher education, racial literacies, and discourses of difference. Email:  


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How to Cite

Agyenim-Boateng, R., & Watson, A. (2023). The Case of African International Students in China at the Height of COVID-19: International Higher Education’s Institutional Silence on Anti-Blackness. Journal of International Students, 13(3), 445–502.