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Racism Against Blacks Rampant on Social Media in China

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Racism Against Blacks Rampant on Social Media in China

Human Rights Watch discovered racist content targeting Black people on China’s social media platforms, where it is utilised to draw attention and earn profit. The rights group examined hundreds of videos and posts from 2021 on platforms such as Weibo, a short messaging app, and Douyin, the Chinese TikTok, and concluded that the content frequently represented Black people through “offensive racial stereotypes.”

Such content was also discovered on the video-sharing platform Bilibili, the Livestream and video app Kuaishou, and the social networking and e-commerce site Xiaohongshu, according to the report, which noted that the companies had failed to deal with it.

“The amount and extremity of racist content on the Chinese internet suggest that the platforms are either not meeting their own standards banning racist content, or that their policies are inadequate when addressing racist content, both of which are contrary to their human rights responsibilities,” according to Aljazeera.

Human Rights Watch stated that influencer videos presenting Black Africans as primitive or reliant on Chinese people as saviours were particularly highly shared, while Black individuals who married Chinese were accused of “contaminating” and threatening the Chinese race in internet remarks. Meanwhile, Chinese in partnerships with Black people were accused of being traitors.

Racism Against Blacks Rampant on Social Media in China

“The Chinese government likes to tout China-Africa anti-colonial solidarity and unity, but at the same time, ignores pervasive hate speech against Black people on the Chinese internet,” said Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Beijing should recognise that investing in Africa and embracing China-Africa friendship will not undo the damage done by unaddressed racism.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, several Africans were forced to leave their apartments and were singled out for quarantine, generating rare protest from African authorities. Some African inhabitants claimed that they had long been the target of everyday racism and xenophobia, with state media and advertisements using ‘Blackface’ and racial caricatures.

According to Human Rights Watch, the majority of Chinese social media platforms include community standards and rules that prohibit content that promotes racial or ethnic hatred and discrimination.

It claimed that Bilibili, Kuaishou, Weibo, and Xiaohongshu did not respond to its letters questioning the racist content, and urged the platforms, which are known for quickly removing content critical of the government, to remove videos and posts that violate community standards on hate speech or may incite racial discrimination or violence.

ByteDance, the owner of Douyin, withdrew one video after Human Rights Watch denounced it, but took no action against a number of others depicting a Black youngster, claiming that the representation was “not necessarily associated with any particular group or race.”

Douyin went on to say that it has “a combination of people and technology” to enforce content moderation criteria and that it “take[s] action on more than 300 videos and comments per day that include violative content targeting Black people on average.”

Racism Against Blacks Rampant on Social Media in China

According to Human Rights Watch, Chinese in interracial relationships with Black people are frequently the target of online abuse, with women threatened with rape, death, and doxing (publishing personally identifiable information without the individual’s consent).

It cited the predominance of tweets calling on the Chinese government to prohibit Black people from becoming permanent residents or marrying Chinese people. Some utilised racist symbols and language common in the United States in their internet messages, and some called for their deaths.

Chinese who criticised racism or supported victims of racism were also targeted, according to the report.

Noting that Beijing maintains “one of the world’s most sophisticated internet censorship regimes” via the so-called Great Firewall, it asked the government to do more to address the issue and promote tolerance and fight prejudice.

“Major Chinese social media platforms are failing to meet their own guidelines for dealing with pervasive racist content,” Wang stated. “Chinese authorities should stop facilitating this toxic environment.”

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