China calls up its first black athlete

April 16th, 2009 - 3:04 pm ICT by ANI  

Beijing, Apr.16 (ANI): China has called up its first black athlete to play a key role in China’s push for gold at the London Olympics in 2012.

Ding Hui, 19, who is affectionately nicknamed Xiao Hei, or Little Black, by his teammates, was included in the national team’s new 18-man volleyball training squad, reports The Telegraph.

The son of a South African father and a Chinese mother, Ding was born in China and only speaks Mandarin and his city’s local dialect. His elevation has stirred up some racial prejudices among his countrymen.

Commentators have noted that he has a “pleasant and perky nature” and is talented at “singing and dancing”.

On Chinese Internet forums, he has been lauded for the “whiteness” of his teeth and the “athleticism of his genes”.

China’s black population is tiny, and attitudes remain relatively unsophisticated. One predominately African suburb in the southern city of Guangzhou is cheerfully referred to as “Chocolate City”.

However, China’s black population is growing rapidly.

Since 2003, when China started pouring investments into Africa, there has been a significant movement of Africans in the opposite direction. Guangzhou authorities believe there are now 100,000 Africans from Nigeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Liberia and Mali in the city, and the flow is growing by 30 to 40 per cent annually. (ANI)

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