Human Rights Watch calls on China to combat racism against black people on social media

Human Rights Watch called on the Chinese government to acknowledge and condemn the spread of racism against black people on the Internet in the country, and to take measures to promote tolerance and combat prejudice.

It called on it to tackle online hate speech by “taking positive measures” and promoting tolerance, publicly addressing inflammatory misinformation, and strengthening security to protect those under threat.

The organization said that racist content on the Chinese Internet directed against blacks at home and abroad has become common in recent years, and is often produced by netizens with the aim of attracting views and making profits.

A Watch analysis of hundreds of videos and posts since late 2021 found that major Chinese social media platforms such as Bilibili, Douyin, Kuaishu, Weibo and Shahunshu do not regularly address racist content.

“The Chinese government likes to promote solidarity and unity between China and Africa against colonial powers, but at the same time ignores the anti-black hate speech rampant on the Chinese Internet,” said Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at the organization.

Several videos and posts reviewed by Human Rights Watch depict black people in offensive racial stereotypes.

The organization said a type of viral video, produced by Chinese social media influencers based in Africa, portrayed Africans as poor and dependent, and the Chinese as saviors.

Another common type of racist content distorts interracial relations, as blacks married to Chinese are accused of “polluting” and threatening the Chinese race. Perceived relationships between black men and Chinese women are particularly vilified.

The Watch also found numerous accounts impersonating black people, spreading false and offensive information, such as fetishizing black Chinese women.

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