Racial sensitivity urged as Chinese ad causes outrage

Beijing, May 30 (IANS) Legal experts have called for more education and stricter law enforcement to increase awareness of racial sensitivity after the release of an advertisement that caused widespread outrage in China.

The advertisement, for the Chinese detergent brand Qiaobi, went viral on the internet, the China Daily reported on Monday.

It featured a black man being transformed into a fair-skinned Chinese after being washed by the detergent in a washing machine.

Shanghai-based Leishang Cosmetics, which owns the brand, has halted the ad, which was shown on social media and in some movie theatres in China.

It posted a statement on its micro-blog account on Saturday to apologise to those who may have felt offended by the commercial.

On Chinese micro-blogging platform Sino Weibo, the news hashtag #controversy caused by laundry detergent, attracted nearly 3 million views, with many netizens leaving critical comments.

Li Jun, vice-president in charge of the Qiaobi brand, said on Sunday, “The creative idea for the commercial was to add some comic drama by using artistic exaggeration. There was no intention of racial discrimination, and we didn’t realise initially that it might lead to viewers getting the wrong impression.”

Liu Junhai, a professor of civil and commercial law at Renmin University of China, said the commercial reflects the lack of public awareness about racial issues in China.

According to China’s Advertisement Law, which was updated last year, any content containing or implying national, racial, religious and gender discrimination is prohibited in adverts, and incurs penalties.

–IANS

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