In the last 10 years, trade between China and Africa has increased to over $106 billion, China has been able to buy its access into African countries like Nigeria by agreeing to build critical infrastructure projects, like roads, railways, hospitals and schools.
One would be inclined to think that the business aspect of the relationship between the continent and China will help to improve the way Africans are viewed in the country, but that is not the case.
Recently a Chinese detergent advert surfaced on the internet, the advert featured a Chinese lady forcing a black man into the laundry machine to ‘clean’ him. A few moments later, he pops out of the machine as a Chinese man in a clean white T-shirt. He winks at the viewer before the slogan flashes up on screen: Change begins with Qiaobi.
“We did this for some sensational effect, If we just show laundry like all the other advertisements, ours will not stand out.” – Xu Chunyan, spokesman for the company..
In response, an agent for the company Xu Chunyan, told the New York Times that the advert was done for for sensationalism and nothing more. But in a country where blacks are often referred to as heigui, or “black ghost,” such acts of ‘sensationalism’ are a bit too extreme for my liking.