A Chinese national by the name Lu Ke has been charged with five counts of Child Trafficking after he was exposed by BBC Africa Eye. Lu Ke had been using Malawian children for money.
He filmed the kids from Njerwa village in Malawi and made them recite derogatory words about themselves in Chinese, the kids clearly unaware of what they were saying.
Such words when translated to English mean ‘I am a black ghost. I have a low IQ.’ The word black ghost in Chinese is ‘Heigui’ and is the English equivalent of the N-word in English.
Lu was outed by BBC Journalist Runako Celina who came to the aid of the children. Celina interviewed one of the kids and he told her that Lu always beat them if they failed to do what he says.
Celina’s BBC documentary uncovered a lucrative industry in the short videos featuring Africans.
“There’s something inherently sinister about swanning into a village somewhere in Africa, tossing a few coins at people less privileged than you and being able to instruct them to do whatever you want,” She wrote in an article on the BBC website when the documentary aired. Click here to watch the documentary: Racism for Sale.
When Lu was discovered, he hurriedly fled Malawi for Zambia. It was in Zambia where he was arrested by the Zambian authorities and handed over to Malawian authorities so that he could be tried for his actions, rather than sent back to China. Lu caused an uproar in Malawi with many people taking to the streets and protesting his actions.
The University of Malawi Child Rights Legal Clinic and other civil society organizations also called for compensation and psychological support for the children exploited by Lu. Some cited that the man was in breach of the Malawian constitution.
A petition was delivered to the Chinese embassy saying that Lu had been ‘Using violence to force the children to say the phrases he wanted.’
In China, the videos are considered by many as a harmless and fun way to send novelty greetings or wishes, while others see anti-Black racism as a function of Chinese colonial power in Africa. The Chinese Embassy in Malawi apologized for the video and promised to serve justice correctly to the black children.
“The Embassy noted with great concern the video Racism for Sale. We strongly condemn racism in any form by anyone or happening anywhere. We also noted that the video was shot in 2020. It shall be stressed that the Chinese government has zero tolerance for racism.” Wrote the Chinese Embassy on their social media.
“We demand internet and social media platforms to strictly prohibit the dissemination of all racist contents.” They added.
Lu Ke in his defense said he made the videos in order to spread the Chinese culture. A film would be bought for up to $70 and was his source of revenue. He continues to be tried in Malawian courts.