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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 editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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    China Arts & Entertainment

    Oh, the Drama! Chinese Opera Performance Turns into Stage Fight as Drunken Man Attacks Actors

    This local traditional opera performance unexpectedly turned into a stage fight.

    Manya Koetse

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    On October 9 in Zhejiang’s Lishui city (Laozhu Town), a theatrical performance unexpectedly turned very dramatic when a drunken man stormed on stage to fight with the performers.

    A video showing the Chinese opera performance being disturbed by the drunkard, turning it into a chaotic stage scene, is gaining major attention on Chinese social media.

    The incident occurred Friday night around 9 pm, when the Laozhu Theatrical Troupe was performing.

    Videos of the incident that are circulating online show how one man comes on stage, attacking one of the actors. The scene escalates into a big fight when others try to intervene. The police were quick to arrive at the scene.

    Various news reports suggest the man started to act out after getting into an argument with one of the ‘Huadan’ (花旦) performers of the troupe. In traditional Chinese opera, the Huadan characters are young female roles, often seductive in appearance and quick with their words.

    Local police posted on Weibo that the chaos was caused by a 33-year-old local who started to become aggressive after he had too much to drink. The man is charged with disorderly conduct and is currently detained.

    The case received even more attention on social media when it turned out that the 33-year old troublemaker is the son of the head of a neighboring village.

    Many Chinese netizens feel that the man is spared by Chinese news media outlets, which only report about a “drunken man” who was “causing trouble.” They insist that the real story should be properly reported.

    “The son of the village chief took liberties with a huadan actress who rejected him, and then he kicked her, causing her to lose consciousness. He then beat up other actors,” some commenters explain.

    “He is not just a ‘drunkard’, he’s the son of the village secretary.”

    “What an explosive performance it was!” one Weibo blogger writes.

    By Manya Koetse

    Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

    ©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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    China Food & Drinks

    Tianjin Restaurant Introduces “Meal Boxes for Women”

    The special lunch boxes for women were introduced after female customers had too much leftover rice.

    Manya Koetse

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    China’s anti food waste campaign, that was launched earlier this month, is still in full swing and noticeable on China’s social media where new iniatives to curb the problem of food loss are discussed every single day.

    Today, the hashtag “Tianjin Restaurant Launches Special Female Meal Boxes” (#天津一饭店推出女版盒饭#) went trending with some 130 million views on Weibo, with many discussions on the phenomenon of gender-specific portions. The restaurant claims its special ‘female lunch boxes’ are just “more suitable for women.”

    According to Tonight News Paper (今晚报), the only difference their reporter found between the “meals for women” and the regular meals, is the amount of rice served. Instead of 275 grams of rice, the ‘female edition’ of the restaurant’s meals contain 225 grams of rice.

    The restaurant, located on Shuangfeng Road, decided to introduce special female lunch boxes after discovering that the female diners of the offices they serve usually leave behind much more rice than their male customers.

    The restaurant now claims they expect to save approximately 10,000 kilograms of rice on an annual basis by serving their meals based on gender.

    On Chinese social media, the initiative was heavily criticized. Weibo netizens wondered why the restaurant would not just offer “bigger” and “smaller” lunch boxes instead of introducing special meals based on gender.

    “There are also women who like to eat more, what’s so difficult about changing your meals to ‘big’ and ‘small’ size?”, a typical comment said: “Some women eat a lot, some men don’t.”

    Many people called the special meals for women sex discrimination and also wanted to know if there was a difference in price between the ‘female’ and ‘male’ lunch boxes.

    There are also female commenters on Weibo who claim they can eat much more than their male colleagues. “Just give me the male version,” one female user wrote: “I’ll eat that meal instead.”

    This is the second time this month that initiatives launched in relation to China’s anti food waste campaign receive online backlash.

    A restaurant in Changsha triggered a storm of criticism earlier this month after placing two scales at its entrance and asking customers to to enter their measurements into an app that would then suggest menu items based on their weight. The restaurant later apologized for encouraging diners to weigh themselves.

    By Manya Koetse

    Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

    ©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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