In China, black people are often regarded suspiciously and considered as all coming from Africa, regardless of their actual origin, according to a report in InterNations.org, a website that serves U.S. ex-patriots across the globe.
As in other countries, including the U.S., in China light skin is deemed desirable and seen as a sign of fortune. While darker skin is often associated with less favorable traits. “China’s economic investment in a number of African countries may well have helped to create the prejudice that all Africans are poor and profiting from money that should rather be invested at home, thus fostering racism in China,” according to the InterNations report. Racial tensions in Guangzhou, a sprawling port northwest of Hong Kong where a large number of Africans have settled over the last few years, racial tensions have been particularly high.
Typically, however, racism in China is more common in remote areas than in the big cities with a large number of foreign residents. China’s long isolation from the rest of the world has also helped to foster stereotypes.
This background may help explain the context for this racist commercial that has many on social media up in arms. It is symbolic of wider racial problems prevalent in China.