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People Are Outraged Over This Super Racist Ad From China

The company apologizes for the hurt caused but said international media had "over-amplified" the ad and were being sensitive.

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Well. This is a commercial for a Chinese detergent brand called Qiaobi that was uploaded onto YouTube on Wednesday. It is racist. Very, very racist.

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The product is a new laundry bead product promoted by Qiaobi, a "star brand that creates a new concept for scientifically doing laundry," according to a press release published on state-run news website China.com.cn.

Qiaobi

The brand, whose slogan is "Change begins with Qiaobi," was said to have just launched at the end of last year but "has been leading the market and in short supply." But if you check its online store on Taobao, China's biggest online retail website, the brand has only until this point sold a total of 44 pieces of its detergent products.

When the company realized that they had angered a lot of people, they apologized but claimed international media had been too sensitive.

"We express regret that the ad should have caused a controversy," they said in a statement issued Saturday. "But we will not shun responsibility for controversial content."

"We express our apology for the harm caused to the African people because of the spread of the ad and the over-amplification by the media," the company said.

"We sincerely hope the public and the media will not over-read it."

When speaking to the Chinese nationalist newspaper The Global Times, company spokesperson Mr Wang, said the critics were "too sensitive," and the issue of racial discrimination never came up during the production of the video.

(As Shanghaiist noted, the ad's structure resembles this Italian ad from about nine years ago, which — while not necessarily racist — is certainly still very problematic.)

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What a great, non-discriminative TV commercial. https://t.co/6B0gyxqMNX

Wow. China. Are you serious? https://t.co/wuXDPPQ9i5 https://t.co/DujpJYqios

But it hasn't blown up the same way in China yet. According to Shanghaiist, the commercial has appeared on Chinese TV and, as shown in this poster, in cinemas as well. It remains unclear how much of an audience base it has reached, though.

But those in China who have seen it realized quickly that something's wrong with the commercial — as one user comments, “If this were in North America, [the company] would be sued for racism.”

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Another says: "Omg this is so shameful, have you watched the racist commercial of Qiaobi?"

When it comes to racism against black people, China is not always as extreme as in this commercial. But it can be pretty bad.

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Many people of African descent have reported feeling gawked at or uncomfortable while in China. Black Americans, like the author of this piece originally published on Tea Leaf Nation, have found themselves facing down blatant prejudices.

China's own ethnic minorities (defined as anyone who is not Han Chinese) are pretty much suppressed, and people have strong stereotypes when it comes to minorities such as the northwest's Uighurs, who practice Islam. In Guangzhou, a southeastern city, a "Little Africa" is booming with more Africans seeking economic opportunities, many of whom are married to Chinese spouses. But they're finding it difficult to become legal permanent residents because of China's strict immigration policies.

Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.

Contact Beimeng Fu at beimeng.fu@buzzfeed.com.

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