This Chinese Star Wars Poster Might Be a Bit Racist

It also doesn't think much of Wookiees
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2015 6:55 PM CST

(Newser) – China is being accused of a little Star Wars-inspired racism this week after a Chinese poster for The Force Awakens drew the attention of social media, CNN reports. The Chinese poster very noticeably shrinks Finn—a character played by black actor John Boyega—and moves him to a less prominent position. It also removes nonwhite characters played by Oscar isaac and Lupita Nyong'o and—for some reason—Chewbacca. "Star Wars' Finn (who happens to be black) and Chewbacca (happens to be Wookiee) get shafted in China," reads one tweet. According to the Wall Street Journal, citing a "person close to the Disney marking campaign," the changes were made to make more room for "attention-grabbing" things like explosions and spaceships and Harrison Ford.

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But that didn't stop fans from complaining on Twitter, forcing China's state-run Global Times to address the issue, CNN reports. According to the Global Times, "analysts" looked at the poster and found no evidence of racism. "Since the poster is merely a promotion method…it would be unfair to criticize Chinese audiences for discriminating against the black actor," one expert says. And the Journal reports Chinese fans appear to have a different concern. “The change that matters to me is not about the black actor, but more about taking out the image of Chewbacca,” says one fan, who denied China has any history of racism against black people (a sentiment echoed by one of the Global Times' experts). Meanwhile, CNN notes many Africans living in China have reported "widespread" bigotry and discrimination. (Read more Star Wars stories.)

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