By Sarah AlabiFor a country that has long been known for its openness and tolerance, China is cracking down on companies that peddle racist advertising.
The Communist Party’s Communist Youth League (CYL) has called on all companies operating in China to stop using its “anti-racism” slogans, according to a statement posted on the party’s official microblogging site on Friday.
It said that such “racist” advertisements, which have become a common way for brands to advertise their products in China, are “unethical, misleading and misleading”.
Chinese companies can face fines of up to 20 million yuan ($1.9 million) or a ban on doing business in China.
China’s Communist Party and its state-owned media outlets have long denounced such advertising as a form of “propaganda of hate”.
The Communist Youth Report, a government-run watchdog, has issued warnings against such ads in the past.
The CYL has also made a point of warning that the anti-racists campaign has made “big business” a target.
However, many Chinese businesses are still using racist slogans, such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Chinese people don’t need to be discriminated against”, according to an article in a Chinese business magazine, The Global Times.
It is also unclear if these anti-racist messages are being used by some Chinese businesses to attract foreign investment.
The Global Times article, which was published last week, warned that “Chinese companies may be tempted to do business with people who support anti-China slogans”, and that “big companies, such the Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, which own the two biggest gaming companies in China and dominate the online shopping market, may be in a vulnerable position to a campaign that might drive up prices”.
It said some of the “anti to China” slogans used by Chinese companies are actually “racist slogans” and may be “a form of propaganda of hate that has caused a great harm to the Chinese culture”.
The article did not say which brands were affected.
It also said some Chinese companies that have been affected by the campaign may not have had any complaints from their customers or employees about the ads.
China has been cracking down heavily on anti-Chinese ads for years.
The government has repeatedly tried to block online forums that are critical of the Communist Party, and it has launched crackdowns on websites that host material critical of Chinese leadership.
China banned online social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in November 2015.
However it has also launched crackdown on internet messaging apps such as WeChat, Telegram and Whatsapp.
Earlier this year, authorities said WeChat and WhatsApp would be blocked on social media, and Chinese authorities also blocked internet messaging app WeChat on Tuesday.
WeChat and Whatsabrew, two of China’s biggest messaging apps, said in a statement on Thursday that the government’s measures were “unjustifiable”.
The companies also said they had received warnings from the authorities about the “serious” consequences of such anti-social behaviour.