Why Chinese husband, African wife found fame online


Sandra Made and Zou Qianshun met in Cameroon and married in 2017. Photo/CNN
Sandra Made and Zou Qianshun met in Cameroon and married in 2017. Photo/CNN

In Summary

  • Chinese racism towards Africans, however, is a sensitive issue.
  • Last year, a skit on China's biggest Lunar New Year TV show sparked outrage when an Asian actress appeared with blackface and enlarged bottom.
  • Earlier this month, a Chinese man was deported from Kenya for posting a video making racist remarks about Kenyans online.

Sandra Made and her Chinese husband Zou Qianshun are, in many ways, like millions of newly married couples around the world.

Made, 27, is a housewife who looks after their 10-month-old baby, while Zou, 43, is a fishing captain and the family breadwinner.

But in China, they have become an online sensation.

Also ReadFaced with falling birth rates, China urges citizens to have more babies

The couple began live-streaming funny skits of their home life on Chinese social media platform, Kuaishou, in February. They now have 120,000 followers.

Made says their videos are popular because people are not used to seeing an African woman with a Chinese man. “Everyone loves Sandra and thinks she’s outgoing,” says Zou.

Sandra Made and Zou Qianshun say they are one of five Chinese-African couples in their town in Liaoning province, China.
Sandra Made and Zou Qianshun say they are one of five Chinese-African couples in their town in Liaoning province, China. Photo/CNN

The couple makes about 5,000 yuan (Ksh.72,700) a month through virtual gifts donated by fans on the site, which can be exchanged for money, he adds.

They met three years ago when Zou was working in Cameroon, where Made ran a hair salon. A year later, Zou proposed and the couple married in March 2017.

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Soon after, they relocated to Zou’s hometown near Dandong, Liaoning province, in northeast China.

In 2016, there were just 1,700 mixed marriages in Liaoning, which is home to 43.7 million people, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

But Zou says there are five other Chinese men in his town with African wives. “They all met in Africa,” he adds.

The most-viewed video on Made’s feed is a comedy sketch of her pretending to feed her baby, Daniel, but instead putting all the food into her mouth.

Also ReadKenyans up in arms over decision to deport Chinese man in slur video

Reactions on Kuaishou to the couple’s humorous skits include “666,” which means cool, and “Sandra! You’re so beautiful,” “Pretty eyes,” and “You speak good Dandong dialect!” Made says she improves her Putonghua by talking with fans online.

But not everyone’s reaction has been so positive. Initially, Zou’s mother, Zhao Fu Qing, was against their union. “How can a Chinese marry a black woman? She can leave at any time.

That’s why at the beginning, both my husband and I said NO to this marriage,” she told Al Jazeera. The couple say Zhao has since become fond of her daughter-in-law.

Also ReadChinese national, Kenyan woman arraigned for operating illegal tea processing plant

Chinese racism towards Africans, however, is a sensitive issue.

Last year, a skit on China’s biggest Lunar New Year TV show sparked outrage when an Asian actress appeared with blackface and enlarged bottom.

Meanwhile, earlier this month a Chinese man was deported from Kenya for posting a video making racist remarks about Kenyans online.

Also Read: 15 Chinese nationals arrested in Nairobi over claims of prostitution

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