File photo shows Africans in China. [Photo: ifeng.com]
Reports circulating on social media that the Chinese government wants to repatriate 80,000 Nigerians illegally staying in the country have been described as untrue by the Nigerian embassy in Beijing.
It said the reports were "fake", "malicious", and "irresponsible".
According to the rumours, China was planning to cover airline costs and subsidize each expat to the tune of 2,000 yuan, or about 290 US dollars, to help them settle back in their homeland, but reportedly Nigeria had rejected the proposal as the identity of the expats couldn't be confirmed.
The Nigerian Embassy said both the proposal and the reported rejection were fake.
The rumors quoted Professor Jin Canrong from Renmin University as saying the African country wanted to build a "Nigerian city" in south China's Guangzhou, and that some Nigerians had torn up their passports or have married Chinese women, making it harder for China to seek their repatriation.
But according to Global Times, Professor Jin said he was not aware of the news and suspected the quote was taken and altered from an earlier speech of his on illegal immigrants.