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Chinese laundry soap ad shows man "washed" from black to Asian

A commercial for laundry soap that started airing this month in China is raising eyebrows -- for all the wrong reasons.

The ad for Qiaobi shows a woman loading clothes into a washing machine when she is approached by a black man covered with splatters of paint.

She beckons him closer, sticks a soap packet in his mouth and stuffs him into the machine.

A few seconds later, the woman opens the lid and -- surprise! -- an Asian man emerges. And the paint splatters are gone.

An image from a commercial for the Chinese laundry detergent Qiaobi. YouTube

Reaction on social media was swift and harsh, with many comments too salty to reprint.

As Shanghaiist reported, the ad is actually a copy of an Italian commercial for Coloreria detergent from 2007 -- even the music is the same.

The big difference: in the earlier spot, an Italian man put into the washer is transformed into a black man, with the tag line “Coloured is better.”

Shanghaiist pointed out, “Thanks to traditional beauty standards valuing white skin, many Chinese people have a well-established phobia of dark skin which unfortunately also breeds racist attitudes towards people of African descent, who are viewed by some as “dirty” simply because of their skin tone.”