China says laundry advertisement 'improper' but not racial

Last Updated 30 May 2016, 13:41 IST
China today termed a commercial ad by a detergent company showing a black man washed into white as "improper" but rejected that it has racial overtones, saying none of the African countries have lodged any complaint against the controversial advertisement.

"The report you mentioned I have seen that. I also noted that you have linked the improper action by a certain single company to a political issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here while replying to question on the "racist" advertisement, which was subsequently withdrawn after it drew adverse global publicity.

"As far as I have learnt it is just an improper action by a certain single company and it has already made an apology to that," Hua said.

She also said she is not aware of any complaint by African countries over the racial overtones of the laundry detergent commercial in which a Chinese woman puts a black man into a washing machine who after wash came out as bright white Chinese man.

"We haven't got any information about any complaint by any other government," Hua said when asked whether any of the African countries made any complain against the racial overtones of the advertisement.

"In China no matter what races and communities people come from, we respect and have good communication with them. With African countries we are in good and close cooperation with them. We hope people will not magnify this issue," Hua said.

"The company has already made any apology for what they have done. With regard to the issue of racial discrimination we are the signatory party to the international convention on racial discrimination and we have been fulfilling our international obligations," she said, adding, we have been trying our best to eliminate racial discrimination.

The coverage of the advertisement by the foreign press drew sharp reaction from an official daily which accused western media for "magnifying racism" in China using the laundry advertisement.

Condemning the Ad, state-run Global Times said "whoever designed the callous commercial seems to be completely unaware of racial discrimination and its sensitivity in the Western society."   
Raising questions over the branding capability of Qiaobi, the company behind the commercial, the paper said that the firm was little known until the advert was released.

"It is highly doubted whether the firm will have a future if it maintains the unscrupulous style," it said.

"Meanwhile, the Western media might have gone to the extreme by intensively reporting on the advert and accusing the Chinese of racial discrimination. Chinese society has never clearly distinguished races and hence the racial issue has never been part of Chinese thinking but always considered as an alien phenomenon," the editorial said.

(Published 30 May 2016, 13:01 IST)

Follow us on