People of African origin are still uncommon in China, but the infusion of international culture has started to erode traditional bigotries.
In the 1996 China edition of the Lonely Planet’s Guidebook, a text box aside comment from a street interview provided some interesting conversation fodder, “… there is no racism in China because there are no black people,” a Chinese woman was reported to have said. This became a little running joke in my small study abroad circle, since I was the only black student in my program of fifty students. It was 1997, and I was in Beijing studying Chinese. “There is no way you could be experiencing any racism in China,” one classmate sardonically told me, “because you are the only black person here.” We all laughed.