Social networking sites and online forums in China have been flooded with comments and opinions from users across the Globe, over a detergent advertisement that was launched last month.

The said advertisement features a Chinese lady doing her laundry, when a black man with his face paint-ridden walks in. The two exchange a momentary glance, when she puts a detergent tab into his mouth and shoves him into the washer.

Out comes a light-skinned Chinese man.

The advertisement has been run in cinemas and on television in China for a month now since its release. The stir came about after the ad was shared by US expat Christopher Powell, DJ Spencer Tarring and a musician at Guiyang Symphony Orchestra, one of whom remarked about the advert being ‘appalling’.

Chinese detergent brand Qiaobi

Mr. Xia, the owner of the said Qiaobi laundry detergent, said that he didn’t know much about the advertisement as he hadn’t paid much attention to it. He continued to say that he hadn’t noticed it was racist until it was pointed out to him.

The Chinese follow alternate principles towards racism but do not lack racial sensitivity. The country has always seen a bias against those of darker skin color and this is being alleviated by efforts involving Governmental organizations.

There are just 600,000 immigrants among a population of 1.3bn native Chinese folk. The Chinese have not had the opportunity to interact with people of darker color on an on-going basis, which could be a cause for their people’s indifference towards racial sensitivity.

A few years ago, Chinese beer manufacturer, Harbin, invited Shaquille O’Neal to endorse their product. Despite the widespread enthusiasm towards US NBA in China, discriminatory comments were reported against the player on China’s most popular forum ‘Tianya’.

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