Deutsche Welle — May 27, 2016
The advertisement for Qiaobi washing powder circulating various online platforms on Friday shows a black man whistling at a young Chinese woman.
Acting as if she’s about to kiss him, she puts a detergent capsule in his mouth instead, shoves him into her washing machine, and sits on the lid while the machine gets to work. When he re-emerges, he’s no longer black, but a “clean” Chinese man.
An Eritrean activist group posted the video on its Twitter page.
Do you think this Chinese commercial for detergent is racist? Anti blackness is global pic.twitter.com/RmVAz8gD7k
— We Are Eritreans™ (@WeAreEritreans) May 26, 2016
The commercial provoked outrage globally, especially among journalists on social media. “The ad is blatantly racist…it’s also a reminder that attitudes over race and skin color in China can be very bad,” Vox.com said.
Buzzfeed editor Tom Gara tweeted this message:
I had high expectations for how racist this Chinese laundry detergent ad would be, and it massively exceeded them: https://t.co/PclJ3neMZU
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) May 26, 2016
Few responses in China
The commercial, reportedly shown at Chinese cinemas earlier in May, is a spin-off from an Italian advertisement, which shows a white man being forced into a washing machine and a black man emerging out of it, followed by the slogan, “Colored is better.”
— Ginger Henderson (@destiny221961) May 27, 2016
However, the Qiaobi commercial appears to have drawn little attention in its home country, China, where it recorded less than 2,000 view on the video-sharing website Youku.