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“Black Man Causing Trouble in Hefei” Incident Triggers Waves of Racist Remarks on Weibo

Photos of the arrest of a black man in Hefei triggered waves of racist remarks on Weibo this weekend.

Manya Koetse

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Photos of the arrest of a black man in Hefei triggered waves of racist remarks on Weibo this weekend. Online racism against Africans has been an ongoing issue on Weibo ever since the platform was first launched.

On August 4, police in Hefei, Anhui, arrested a black man in the city for “causing trouble” and “picking quarrels.” The man reportedly injured another person on the street.

Photos of the incident made their rounds on Chinese social media on August 5. Hefei Headlines (@头条合肥) was one of the accounts sharing the news on Weibo with the headline “Black Man Causing Trouble in Hefei” (“黑人男子合肥寻衅滋事”).

The incident occurred around 4 pm on Fanhua Street, right before the Foreign Languages College. In the photos that are making their rounds on Weibo, the man can be seen running from the police, wearing nothing but underpants and sneakers.

It is not clear what triggered the incident and what the man exactly did, nor are there any reports on where the man comes from or whether he is a student at the college.

The photos triggered two types of responses on Weibo: on the one hand, there were those people who just praised the police for the work they are doing and risks they are taking, and on the other hand, there were large numbers of netizens who made racist remarks about the black man.

“Black monkey go back to Africa,” or “black trash” were typical comments amongst the thousands of reactions on Weibo.

“There are so many black devils in Guangzhou, and they bring AIDS with them, it’s disgusting,” one person said. Guangzhou has the largest black community in China.

Online racism against Africans has been an ongoing issue on Weibo ever since the platform was first launched in 2009. At the time, an essay about the racism against Chinese in Africa drew much attention. In 2013, Weibo was flooded by news of Chinese being killed in Ghana.

The existing idea that Chinese are looked down upon in Africa has allegedly worsened anti-African sentiments in China, although there are also those who already warned in 2013 that “the denigration and discrimination of black people [in Africa by the Chinese] is spreading like an epidemic.”

Throughout the years, multiple news stories concerning Africans have triggered waves of racist remarks.

In “From Campus Racism to Cyber Racism”1, scholar Cheng (2011) argues that anti-black racism in China has re-emerged with China’s deeper economic involvement in Africa, due to which large numbers of Chinese and Africans have come to work in each other’s countries.

Cheng writes that although there already were waves of racism against Africans in the early post-Mao era, it has resurfaced over the last decade with the rise of China as a global power. Given that there are still many regarding Africans as “racially inferior,” “these people think it is wrong for Africans to create social problems in Chinese cities and impede China’s actions in Africa” (561)1.

But on Weibo, there are many who take the issue of racism in China lightly, comparing it to other countries: “If this were America, this guy would have already have been shot and killed.”

“We have no racism in China,” one commenter says: “We just have a distinction of good versus evil.” Others had similar jokes, saying: “There are only two types of people I can’t stand: 1. racists and 2. black people.”

Despite all racist slurs and racist jokes, there were also those who had a serious message for all foreigners: “There are many foreigners from wherever who don’t take Chinese law seriously. I don’t care where you are from, but you have to abide by the Chinese law if you’re in China.”

It is unknown how long the man will be detained.

By Manya Koetse

1 Cheng, Yinghong. 2011. “From Campus Racism to Cyber Racism: Discourse of Race and Chinese Nationalism.” The China Quarterly (207): 561-579.

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Truthspeaker

    August 8, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Tiny nationalists of the internet never miss the occasion to remind us all how pathetically small their manhood is.

    • Avatar

      Joe

      August 10, 2017 at 2:41 am

      You must know from sucking their manhood .

      • Avatar

        Adolf Hitler

        October 14, 2017 at 1:46 am

        This guy knows. I love getting my dick sucked by these pussy ass leftists. Every time there’s a black blocc protest in the tristate area I make sure to swing by, fully erect and ready to party. I just make sure to bring protection, both from all the bike locks and all the rampant AIDS spread by these racemixing faggots.

        14/88 y’all, jet fuels don’t melt steel beams.
        Ya boy A.H.

  2. Avatar

    SpeakTheTruth

    August 11, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Better question is why are there so many black African sexpats in China who pump and dump Chinese women and project their desire for racial supremacy over Asian men and anti-Asian racism?

  3. Avatar

    garrett

    October 12, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Chinese and Asian citizens are nothing but suspected white supremacists. No different from white americans who they stupidly call “good”.

  4. Avatar

    Moshe Shekelsteinberg

    October 14, 2017 at 1:38 am

    Oy vey, just reading this article made me remember all the racist remarks those nazi’s made against me in the death camps, we better start helping china in rooting out all those racists and accept the ways of multiculturalism.
    No jew will rest until all chinese women have accepted progress, diversity and a beautiful black man in their lives.

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China and Covid19

Announced Changes in Nucleic Acid Testing and Further Easing of Covid Measures Across China

Bus and subway operators in Beijing will no longer refuse entry to passengers without a 48-hour negative nucleic acid certificate.

Manya Koetse

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On Monday, directly after that noteworthy unrest-filled weekend, the hashtag “Multiple Locations Announce Nucleic Acid Testing Changes” (#多地核酸检测通知发生变化#) went trending on Chinese social media, receiving over 660 million clicks by Monday evening.

Immediately following demonstrations in Beijing and a second night of protests in Shanghai and elsewhere, various Chinese media reported how different areas across the country are introducing changes to their current Covid19 testing measures.

On Wednesday, November 30, China’s vice-premier Sun Chunlan made remarks at a meeting on epidemic prevention, underlining the importance of “constantly optimizing” China’s Covid-19 response and talking about a “new stage and mission” – without ever mentioning “zero Covid.”

This is what we know about easing Covid measures thus far:

▶ Strict lockdowns have been lifted in Guangzhou, Zhengzhou, and Chongqing.

▶ On November 28, Guangzhou announced that people who do not actively participate in social life will no longer need to participate in continuous nucleic acid screening. This includes elderly people who stay indoors for long periods of time, students who take online classes, and those who work from home. The change will apply to residents in seven districts, including Haizhu, Panyu, Tianhe, and Baiyun (#广州7区无社会面活动者可不参加全员核酸#).

▶ Guangzhou, according to Reuters, also scrapped a rule that only people with a negative COVID test can buy fever medication over the counter.

Harbin will follow the example of Guangzhou, and will also allow people who are mostly based at home to skip nucleic acid test screenings.

▶ Same goes for Shenyang, and Taiyuan.

▶ In Chongqing, various districts have done widespread Covid testing campaigns, but the local authorities announced that those communities that have not had a positive Covid case over the past five days do not need to participate in nucleic acid screening anymore. This means an end to district-wide testing.

▶ On November 30, Beijing also announced that it will start exempting some people from frequent Covid testing, including those elderly residents who are bound to home and other people who do not go out and have social interactions. This also includes younger students who are following classes online.

▶ Starting from December 5, bus and subway operators in Beijing will no longer refuse entry to passengers without a 48-hour negative nucleic acid certificate (announced on December 2nd).

▶ Although not officially announced, there have been various social media posts and reports about Covid-positive people in Beijing being allowed to quarantine at home if they meet conditions.

Chengdu Metro announced on December 2nd that it will no longer check passengers’ nucleic acid test reports. Passengers still need to scan their travel code and those with a green code can enter. Other public places will reportedly also start to accept the ‘green code’ only without a time limit on nucleic acid testing.

Tianjin metro announced that the 72-hour nucleic acid certificate check will be also be canceled for passengers on the Tianjin metro lines. As in other places, people will still need to wear proper face masks and undergo temperature checks.

▶ In Hangzhou, except for at special places such as nursing homes, orphanages, primary and secondary schools, people’s nucleic acid tests will no longer be checked in public transportation and other public places. They will also stop checking people’s Venue Codes (场所码).

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

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China and Covid19

The ‘Blank White Paper Protest’ in Beijing and Online Discussions on “Outside Forces”

As people in Beijing, Shanghai, and other places take to the streets holding up white papers, some have dubbed this the “A4 Revolution.”

Manya Koetse

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A majority of social media commenters support those who have recently taken to the streets, using blank sheets as a sign of protest against censorship and stringent Covid measures. But there are also online voices warning Chinese young people not to be influenced by ‘external forces.’

Over the past few days, there have been scenes of unrest and protest movements in various places across China.

While there were protests in Shanghai for the second night in a row, Beijing also saw crowds gathering around the Liangmahe area in the city’s Chaoyang District on Sunday night.

Some videos showed crowds softly singing the song “Farewell” (送别) in commemoration of those who lost their lives during the deadly inferno in Urumqi.

Later, people protested against stringent Covid measures.

“The crowds at Liangmahe are amazing,” some people on Weibo commented.

Photos and videos coming from the area showed how people were holding up blank sheets of white paper.

Earlier this weekend, students in Nanjing and Xi’an also held up blank paper sheets in protest of censorship and as the only ‘safe’ way to say what could otherwise not be said. This form of protest also popped up during the Hong Kong protests, as also described in the recent book by Louisa Lim (Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong).

The recurring use of blank paper sheets led to some dubbing the protests an “A4 Revolution.”

“When can we have freedom of speech? Maybe it can start at Beijng’s Liangmahe,” one person on Weibo wrote on Sunday night.

Another Beijing-based netizen wrote: “Before going to sleep I saw what was happening in Liangmahe on my WeChat Moments and then I looked at Weibo and saw that the Xicheng area had added 279 new Covid cases. I started thinking about my own everyday life and the things I am doing. I can’t help but feel a sense of isolation, because I can’t fight and do not dare to raise my voice.”

“I didn’t dare to believe this is happening in 2022. I didn’t dare to believe this is happening in Beijing. I do not dare to believe that again it will all have been useless tomorrow morning,” one Weibo user commented.

During the night, various people at the scene shouted out things such as “we want to go out and work,” and other hopes they have. One person yelled: “I want to go out and see a movie!”

“I want to go and see a movie.”

The phrase “I wanna go watch a movie” (“我要看电影”) was also picked up on social media, with some people commenting : “I am not interested in political regimes, I just want to be able to freely see a movie.” “I want to see a movie! I want to sit in a cinema and watch a movie! I want to watch a movie that is uncensored!”

Despite social media users showing a lot of support for students and locals standing up and making their voices heard, not everyone was supportive of this gathering in Beijing. Some suggested that since Liangmahe is near Beijing’s foreign embassy district, there must be some evil “foreign forces” meddling and creating unrest.

Others expressed that people were starting to demand too many different things instead of solely focusing on China’s zero Covid policies, losing the momentum of the original intention of the protest.

Political commentator Hu Xijin (胡锡进) also posted about the recent unrest on his Weibo account on Sunday night:

The people have the right to express their opinions, and you may have good and honest aspirations and have the intention to express legitimate demands. But I want to remind you that many things have their own rules, and when everyone participates in the movement, its direction might become very difficult for ordinary participants to continue to control, and it can easily to be used or even hijacked by separate forces, which may eventually turn into a flood that destroys all of our lives.”

Hu also called on people to keep striving to solve existing problems, but to stay clear-headed, suggesting that it is important for the people and the government to maintain unity in this challenging time.

The term “outside forces” or “external forces” (外部势力) increasingly popped up in social media discussions on late Sunday night.

“I worry a lot of meddling by external forces. Let’s be vigilant of a color revolution. I just hope things will get better,” one netizen from Hubei wrote.

“Young people should not be incited by a few phrases and blindly follow. Everyone will approve of people rationally defending their rights, but stay far away from color revolutions.”

The idea that foreign forces meddle in Chinese affairs for their own agenda has come up various times over the past years, during the Hong Kong protests but also during small-scale protests, such as a local student protest in Chengdu in 2021.

The term “color revolution” is recurring in these kind of discussions, with some netizens suggesting that foreign forces, such as the CIA, are trying to get local people to cause unrest through riots or demonstrations to undermine the stability of the government.

“It’s not always external forces, it can also just be opposition,” one person on Weibo replied: “In every country you’ll have different opinions.”

“What outside forces?” another commenter said: “I’m not an external force! I am just completely fed up with the Covid measures!”

Read more about the “11.24” unrest in China here.

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Miranda Barnes

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