China says pictures and videos purporting to show black people being discriminated against – and in some instances physically assaulted – in parts of the country are "fake news".
The truth is much more complicated. In some cases, fake news is responsible. In other cases, there is blatant discrimination and xenophobia against China's African population.
In the months since the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, stories, images and videos have circulated about a racial divide in parts of China.
Things came to a head when a McDonald's store in Guangzhou erected a sign banning black people from entering.
"We've been informed that from now on black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant," the sign read.
McDonald's was forced to apologise for the sign, distancing itself publicly from the incident.
"Immediately upon learning of an unauthorised communication to our guests at a restaurant in Guangzhou, we immediately removed the communication and temporarily closed the restaurant," the burger chain said in a statement.
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But more alarming footage soon surfaced showing black people being attacked in China.
The viral videos were circulated widely on Facebook and YouTube but AFP Fact Check this week revealed many of the videos were designed to deceive.
They did indeed show black people being beaten, but the videos were not linked to the pandemic as many believed.
Assistant Professor Roberto Castillo from Lingnan University in Hong Kong told The Guardian China has attempted to deflect responsibility for what is clearly a significant — and very real — problem.
"Unsurprisingly, China's response was to deflect and spin the narrative as yet another situation distorted by Western media and fake news, and to point out that China does not discriminate against any foreigners," he said.
The reality is that in some parts of the Guangzhou, black people cannot get a room in a hotel. They cannot eat in restaurants where white people are welcome and they are targeted because of a misguided belief they are importing the virus.
Chinese state media says a small number of coronavirus cases in Guangzhou — home to the largest population of Africans in China — have been imported from Africa. The comments appear to have been taken well and truly out of context.
Al Jazeera reports China is responsible for "forceful testing, quarantine and evictions" of Africans living in Guangzhou.
"A recent rise in Covid-19 infections in China has been linked to people from abroad," the network's Inside Story reported.
"The Chinese Government is worried there could be a second wave.
"African students and expatriates have reportedly been evicted from their homes, tested for coronavirus several times and are being shunned in public."
CNN spoke with more than 24 Africans living in Guangzhou who mostly "told of the same experiences: being left without a home, being subject to random testing for Covid-19, and being quarantined for 14 days in the homes, despite having no symptoms or contact with known patients".
The Los Angeles Times spoke with a Nigerian trader in Guangzhou who told them a large number of Africans were sleeping on the streets.
"I saw a lot of videos, boys hanging outside, they were hungry," he said.
The situation has become so extreme that US officials have warned African-Americans to avoid Guangzhou altogether.
In a statement, the US Consulate there said: "In response to an increase in Covid-19 infections, officials in the Guangzhou metropolitan area escalated scrutiny of foreign nationals.
"As part of this campaign, police ordered bars and restaurants not to serve clients who appear to be of African origin.
"Moreover, local officials launched a round of mandatory tests for Covid-19, followed by mandatory self-quarantine, for anyone with 'African contacts', regardless of recent travel history or previous quarantine completion.
"African-Americans have also reported that some businesses and hotels refuse to do business with them."
Chinese officials have downplayed the incidents. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman blamed the scrutiny of black people in Guangzhou on "some misunderstandings in the implementation of the measures" to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
But to blame the entire situation on fake news is a step too far.