China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency published a cartoon this weekend depicting white American police officers chasing a black man while yelling “Hunt that Blackie!” The cartoon was accompanied by a message admonishing the U.S. for its “racism.”
The cartoon illustration depicts three police officers: one carrying a torch, another brandishing a pitchfork and a pistol, and a third holding a leashed dog, in his right hand, and the Statue of Liberty torch in his left hand.
The three officers, along with the dog, eagerly pursue a black man while a speech bubble above them reads: “Hunt that Blackie!”
“Statistics show, time and again, that some are disproportionately prejudiced against in the U.S. #fightracism,” a message posted above the cartoon reads, though the post fails to include any statistics supporting the claim. The cartoon was published on Xinhua’s Twitter feed on Sunday.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) September 27, 2020
Xinhua News Agency is China’s official state-run press agency and is considered the largest news agency in the world in terms of its number of correspondents worldwide.
The three police officers depicted in the cartoon appear to be vaguely reminiscent of three of the four officers arrested for their involvement in the death of George Floyd in the U.S. city of Minneapolis in late May. George Floyd, a black man, died while in police custody as police arrested him. One officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes during the arrest, eyewitness video of which went viral, sparking nationwide protests and riots. Four officers involved in the death were subsequently arrested and criminally charged over the incident; they currently await trial.
Since the May 25 incident, Chinese state media has covered ongoing racial unrest in America with highly critical articles blaming the U.S. political system for the issue.
“[P]artisan politics between Democrats and Republicans makes the U.S. almost impossible to reform to effectively respond to the demands of its people. And due to educational and political culture of the U.S., as well as its market economy, it is almost impossible for Americans to fundamentally reform its capitalist system, even if it is very problematic and uneven (sic),” Fan Yongpeng, a U.S. studies expert and deputy director of the China Institute at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mouthpiece Global Times in June.
For years, the Communist Party has been accused of widespread racism against black people, in particular. African immigrants living in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in April were evicted from their homes, denied entry to hotels, and forced to sleep on the street following false claims by the city’s majority ethnic Han people that black people were more likely to carry and transmit the Chinese coronavirus.
In February 2018, a Chinese state TV outlet aired a Lunar New Year skit in which Chinese actors were painted in blackface to depict African nationals. The skit was reportedly intended to promote Beijing’s infrastructure-building Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Africa. It was met with international criticism and accusations of racism.
Later that same year, a Chinese businessman was secretly recorded calling Kenyans “monkey people” while reprimanding his Kenyan employees at his workplace. During the tirade, the businessman also encouraged his employees to be “like white people, like the Americans.” Video of the encounter went viral. The Chinese man was later arrested by Kenyan authorities and reportedly faced deportation at the time under “racism grounds.”
Nigeria’s This Day published a report in August 2019 lambasting China’s BRI projects in the country as racist. The projects are based on a predatory loan structure and often employ more imported Chinese workers than native Africans.
“With stakes worth billions of dollars in businesses ranging from agriculture to oil, gas, and construction, China’s Greek-gift economic assistance is increasing unemployment and worsening job creation in Nigeria,” reporter Adejobi Adejobi wrote. “It’s such a pathetic situation that Nigerians are slaves in their country to Chinese exploiters!” he lamented.