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Lockdown “Shout-Out” Videos Featuring Africans Raise Controversy

Screenshot of a so-called "African Warrior" video that Chinese online users pay to have messages displayed on social media.

The ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns in cities like Shanghai are sparking a cottage industry of commissioned viral videos commenting on the crisis. Recently, videos of shirtless African men, dubbed Wolf Warriors, dancing or posing with messages in Mandarin have become trendy. While many Chinese consumers see these videos as harmless, they traffic in African stereotypes that frequently blunder into full-blown racism. 

The videos are an iteration of an earlier, much-criticized trend of videos showing African children posing with specially commissioned Mandarin messages. While many of these simply expressed solidarity with people suffering through lockdowns, some were openly racist. 

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