African-Chinese Idol Show Contestant Targeted by Racist Attacks Online

African-Chinese Idol Show Contestant Targeted by Racist Attacks Online
Ryan General
April 17, 2020
A Chinese-Congolese contestant on China’s idol audition program “Produce Camp 2020” has become the subject of racist attacks online. 
“Produce Camp 2020,” a spin-off of the popular South Korean K-pop reality show “Produce 101,” recently announced its list of contestants, which includes 24-year-old Winnie Zhong Feifei. The program is set to air next month on Tencent Video.
Since the announcement on April 8, some of the trainees have generated a respectable following. There are also others who are already established celebrities such as South Korean stars Sally from girl group Gugudan and Hami from D.Holic.
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Meanwhile, Winnie, who was born to a Chinese mother and Congolese father, has since been dealing with a barrage of derogatory comments on Chinese social media. While she was born in Liaoning province, the criticisms were mainly due to her mixed-race appearance and African heritage.
Even before she was announced as a trainee, Zhong had previously lamented in her vlogs about feeling out of place in China due to her looks. She talked about her younger years when she was forced to perm her hair straight because others would make fun of her curly hair. She noted that she eventually returned to her natural hair after realizing that it was not worth changing herself just so her classmates would treat her as an equal, Koreaboo reports.
When she uploaded images of herself on Weibo back in November, she attracted comments berating her for her looks. While she is able to respond to her detractors and put them in place, some of the discriminatory remarks she had to deal with can be too much to handle. Some Weibo users even use the transliterated Chinese characters for the “N-word” to verbally abuse her.
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But not all Weibo users were there to attack Zhong, as others were quick to defend her. According to South China Morning Post, Zhong has also gained fans and followers on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, with supporters creating fan accounts for her.
Zhong, who can speak Chinese, English, Swahili and French, completed her undergraduate studies at Boston University in the U.S. She is now taking graduate studies in intelligence and counter-terrorism at Johns Hopkins University.
Feature Image via @xxbunno
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