BBC reporter Runako Celina and her friends carried out a two-year investigation into the origins of videos of African children on Chinese social media. BBC Africa published Runako Celina’s report titled “Racism for sale” on June 14, and it quickly became a hot topic.
Chinese social networks spread videos about a group of African children on social networks
Over the past five years, two Douyin accounts “Naughty Brother in Africa,” “African Little Sock,” and others, have spread thousands of videos of African kids speaking or singing in Chinese.
Among the hottest videos, one depicts children dressed in red, standing together and loudly saying in Chinese: “I am black monster, I have a low IQ.”
Other videos depict racism when children say in unison that the yellow man is number one.
The report said the kids did not understand what they were saying, they followed orders. There are even cases of abuse and not letting the kid go home.
The videos above spread very quickly on mainland social networks.
BBC reporter investigates the adverse effect of the videos
Runako and her companions made a difficult investigation. The videos only depict children, with no information about the location or the person filming.
After researching hundreds of videos and comparing them with each other, Runako finally found the video shooting location in Malawi. She quickly took a flight to Malawi and found the village where the clips were made.
The man with the alias “SuSu” is named Lu Ke. He admitted to filming videos of African kids speaking Chinese. After filming, he sold them to websites in Mainland China for $70 per video and paid the children about $0.50 salary or gave them some sweets.
On his peak days, he shoots 380 videos, selling them for $30 (200 yuan) per video. He earns $11,400 (76,000 yuan) per day.
The adults in the kid’s village did not know the story. So they were surprised and angry when they learned of the clips’ contents.
After the BBC report was released, politicians spoke out
VOA quoted the Malawi government minister as saying that using racism to sell is an “insult to Malawi children.”
And, Sylvester Namiwa, executive director of The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives, said it was also an insult to black people globally.
As for the Chinese authorities, the Chinese Embassy in Malawi wrote on Twitter on June 14: “The Embassy noted with great concern the video Racism for Sale. We strongly condemn racism in any form, by anyone or happening anywhere. We also noted that the video was shot in 2020. It shall be stressed that Chinese government has zero tolerance for racism.”
Not long after that, they also mentioned the incident: “Shortly after the video first appeared early 2020, Chinese relevant authority was very concerned & immediately urged the platforms to remove it and to punish the video maker. We demand internet & social media platforms to strictly prohibit the dissemination of all racist contents.”
However, this answer did not satisfy Namiwa. He thinks China is trying to emphasize that the video recording time is 2020, which was quite a long time ago. He wants the Chinese regime to demonstrate it with actions, not just words.
A netizen answered, “You knew about this and chose to stay quiet? why didn’t you tell us then?”