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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Rising Racism on Chinese Social Media: Targeting Black Individuals for Profit

A recent report from Human Rights Watch sheds light on a troubling trend: the increasing presence of racist content on China’s social media platforms, specifically targeting Black people. This content, often laden with offensive racial stereotypes, is not only damaging to individuals but is also being used to attract traffic and generate profit. The report underscores the alarming prevalence of such content and questions the platforms’ adherence to their own standards and responsibilities.

Amplifying Offensive Stereotypes

Human Rights Watch’s review of hundreds of videos and posts from platforms like Weibo, Douyin (China’s TikTok), Bilibili, Kuaishou, and more has revealed a disturbing pattern. The content frequently portrays Black people through offensive racial stereotypes, perpetuating harmful narratives that degrade and dehumanize individuals.

Platforms Falling Short

Despite community standards and guidelines banning content promoting racial or ethnic hatred, many platforms have failed to address the issue adequately. Human Rights Watch’s findings suggest that the platforms either lack the capacity to enforce their own standards or that their policies are insufficient to combat racist content. This failure to curb such content is contradictory to their human rights responsibilities.

Damaging Narratives

Particularly troubling are influencer videos that depict Black Africans in primitive roles or dependent on Chinese individuals as their saviors. Additionally, the report highlights the alarming trend of accusing Black individuals in relationships with Chinese people of “contaminating” and threatening the Chinese race. This divisive rhetoric not only perpetuates stereotypes but also fuels discrimination and hate.

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Silence Amidst Solidarity

The report calls attention to the irony of China promoting anti-colonial solidarity with Africa while turning a blind eye to pervasive hate speech against Black people on its internet. The contradictory stance undermines efforts to foster China-Africa friendship and investments.

Urgent Call for Action

Human Rights Watch emphasizes the importance of action to combat this issue. While platforms swiftly remove content critical of the government, they often hesitate to remove content violating community standards on hate speech. The report urges platforms to take down videos and posts that incite racial discrimination or violence, and to enforce content moderation guidelines effectively.

Nurturing Change

The report also urges the Chinese government to play a more active role in addressing the problem. As a country with sophisticated internet censorship measures, it possesses the tools to promote tolerance, fight prejudice, and create an environment that values diversity and inclusivity.

A Road to Redemption

In the midst of this concerning trend, there is hope for change. By acknowledging the issue, enforcing stricter content moderation, and fostering an atmosphere of respect, platforms and the government can work together to eradicate racism and discrimination from Chinese social media.


The emergence of racist content targeting Black individuals on Chinese social media is a distressing phenomenon that demands immediate attention. Platforms must take swift and decisive action to uphold their own standards and eradicate hate speech. Simultaneously, the Chinese government’s commitment to promoting tolerance and inclusivity is crucial in building an internet environment that values the dignity and rights of every individual.


What is the main issue highlighted in the Human Rights Watch report?

The report highlights the increasing prevalence of racist content targeting Black people on China’s social media platforms, often perpetuating offensive stereotypes.

Which platforms were reviewed in the report?

The review encompassed platforms including Weibo, Douyin (Chinese TikTok), Bilibili, Kuaishou, and more.

What is the key concern regarding these platforms?

Despite having community standards banning content promoting racial or ethnic hatred, the platforms are failing to adequately address and remove racist content.

How is the Chinese government being urged to respond?

The Chinese government is urged to take proactive measures to address the issue, promote tolerance, and fight prejudice on the internet.

What impact does the prevalence of racist content have on relationships and communities?

The content fuels damaging narratives, divides communities, and perpetuates stereotypes, ultimately undermining efforts to foster unity and understanding.

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