4 December 2023

False: This racist wall slogan in China linking black people to AIDS is doctored

Annie Lab found several versions of the same image with different slogans being sold on Taobao. Custom-made wall advertisements or slogans are popular e-commerce digital products in China.

A post on X shared an image of a wall slogan written in Chinese, “远离黑人, 远离爱滋病” which translates to “stay away from black people, stay away from AIDS.”

It goes on to say, “大部分黑人携带爱滋病毒 [most black people have HIV].” It is supposedly signed by 国家卫生办, or the National Health Commission in China. This X account belongs to a self-claimed asylum seeker who actively criticizes the Chinese Communist Party online.

The tweet with this image reads, “终于说了一句实话,不知是否假冒的 [Finally a word of truth, I don’t know if it’s fake or not],” gaining 639 likes and 148 reposts.

This image, however, is not real.

Image search led to several versions of the same image with different slogans. They can be seen on the Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao where vendors offer the image with alternate slogans (for example, shown here and here), starting from 1 yuan.

The image in question (left) carries identical features seen in other images for sale on Taobao (right).

A product demo video from the Taobao shop shows a restaurant called “同心老马” adjacent to the slogan on the wall.

We geolocated this “Tongxin Laoma” restaurant and found it in Pingan township of rural Lanzhou, the provincial capital of Gansu in northwestern China.

 A product demo video uploaded to the Taobao shop showed a sign next to the wall. Annie Lab was able to geolocate it to a restaurant in rural Lanzhou city, the provincial capital of Gansu.
 A video uploaded to Xiaohongshu selling the wall space for advertisement

Image search also led to a Xiaohongshu post with a video selling the advertising space on the same wall.

This video bears a local hospital ad promoting its infertility treatment (看妇科 看不孕不育 到兰州仁和医院).

A photo found on Baidu Map showing the restaurant and the wall space with different advertisement

We found another version of the wall advertisement on Baidu Map plugging the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases.

Custom-made images and memes are popular digital products in China’s e-commerce shops (for example, here and here).

Wall slogans found in rural China have been deemed as a unique cultural scenery since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, according to state-controlled media Xinhua.

Anti-African sentiments and negative views of black people in China have been the sources of many erroneous and false claims that Annie Lab debunked in the past.

Related stories:
* Misleading: Black police officers in this photo are not employed by China’s law enforcement
* False: Tea culture event falsely described as ‘enslavement’ of black people in China
* Misleading: Woman posing with indigenous men is not ex-head of Shandong University