Rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticised China’s government for failing to “acknowledge and condemn” the rampant anti-black racism on the Chinese internet.
“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, HRW’s senior China researcher.
Racist online content has become popular in China in recent years as more content creators seek to profit from it.
According to HRW, such content often perpetuates offensive racial stereotypes by typecasting Africans as impoverished and inferior to the Chinese “saviours”.
The rights group also said that some content disparages interracial relationships with black people, particularly black men, who are condemned for tainting China.
It also found that some accounts impersonate black people to spread false and hostile information, while others attack black people and even call for their killing. These attacks often extend to the partners and supporters of black people.
The rights organisation also criticised the Chinese government and social media companies for failing to meaningfully address reports of online racism, such as the 2022 BBC Africa Eye investigation Racism for Sale.
The documentary exposed the sale of videos showing African children coached by Chinese people to repeat demeaning comments about themselves in Mandarin. A Chinese man was subsequently jailed for 12 months in Malawi on charges including trafficking and procuring children to take part in entertainment.
HRW warned that if unchecked, the prevalent anti-black racism on China’s internet risks inciting racial discrimination or violence towards black people.