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MWI | Jun 18, 2022

Zhang Zhouxiang | BBC, please dial West for racism

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BBC Africa airs documentary showing Chinese asking Malawi children to denigrate their own race

Pedestrians walk past a BBC logo at Broadcasting House in London, Britain, January 29, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File)

A BBC Africa programme called Racism for Sale is making a buzz these days. In the documentary, some Chinese individuals are shown instructing local children in Malawi to denigrate their own race in the Chinese language.

Following the programme, many rightfully charged the Chinese individuals shown in the video with racism. But there were others who extended the blame to all Chinese people, even the Chinese nation.

There is no denying what the Chinese individuals are shown doing in the video is wrong and indefensible.

However, they cannot be seen as representing all Chinese people.

After the incident, the Chinese Embassy in Malawi tweeted in no unclear words on Tuesday (June 13), saying, “We strongly condemn racism in any form, by anyone or happening anywhere.”

Most Chinese people, themselves so often subjected to racial discrimination, will fully sympathise with the victims.

Actually, when the videos showing the Chinese individuals making the Malawi kids denigrate their own race first surfaced on domestic video-sharing apps such as Douyin or Kuaishou, viewers slammed and reported them to the platforms, following which the accounts were suspended and the videos deleted.

The Chinese individuals in the documentary do not represent the majority of Chinese people.

BBC Africa said they spent two years making the documentary, which is not surprising because racism is never to be easily found in Chinese society.

(Photo: YouTube.com)

However, it would be easier for the BBC if they look closer home in the West when looking for racism. In the United States alone, they will find the case of George Floyd, an African American who died gasping for breath under the knee of a white police officer in 2020; more recently in the Buffalo shooting the victims were mostly African Americans; media outlets in the US and Europe even used African people’s images alongside stories of monkeypox outbreaks.

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