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Oct 15, 2017

A pair of seemingly tone-deaf incidents this week highlight the ongoing difficulty that some parts of Chinese society are having with regards to racial sensitivity towards Africans and black people in general. 

First, an exhibit at the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan that placed images of African people next to animals was shut down after it sparked widespread outrage.

The second incident occurred on the hugely popular online platform WeChat, that is now the world's second largest social media network behind Facebook. WeChat offers an instant translation service where the user simply presses their finger on a character(s) and an English translation appears.

A WeChat spokesman apologized for the error and blamed the mistake on shortcomings in its artificial intelligence code that does the automatic translation in its chat service. 

Join the discussion. Are these two recent incidents in China revealing in any way, or simply more of the same especially in this era of racial polarization in the United States, anti-immigrant politics in Europe and growing xenophobia in places like South Africa? Let us know what you think.


Twitter: @eolander | @stadenesque