Chinese Museum Removes Photo Exhibit Comparing Black People To Animals
The photography exhibit that displayed the images is expected to end this week.
The Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan has removed a photography exhibit that showed images of wild African animals placed next to black African people after the exhibit received backlash and outrage on social media.
The "This Is Africa" exhibit featured side-by-side photos of animals and people displaying similar expressions, with the pairings featuring everything from a young boy and a howling chimpanzee (both with their mouths agape) to a man and a lion (both gnashing their teeth).
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The photos, which were taken by photographer Yu Huiping, were taken down after complaints made by Africans, including students living in China. However, it was not Huiping's idea to place the images together, but Wang Yuejun's, a curator at the exhibit.
"The target of the exhibition is mainly a Chinese audience," Yuejun said to the New York Times, adding that comparisons between people and animals are common and often taken as a compliment in China. But once Yuejun learned that "putting the photos of African tribespeople and animals together hurt the feelings of the African tribespeople," he had the pictures removed to "show respect for our African friends' opinions."
As the Times also notes, China has become Africa's largest trading partner which has led to an increase in racist missteps. Last year came a commercial from Chinese detergent brand Qiaobi, where a black man was stuffed into a washing machine and turned into a fair-skinned Asian man.