Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba followed US online retailers including Amazon, eBay and Google today in removing listings with products that display Confederate battle flags, a move made in response to the murder of nine parishioners at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina last week.
A decades-long debate over the placement of Confederate flag imagery in US culture was rekindled after the gunman in the Charleston church murders, Dylann Roof, appeared in multiple photographs posing with the flag.
According to Reuters:
“Alibaba Group prohibits listings of materials that are ethnically or racially offensive across its platforms. As such, we will be removing listings for flags, clothing and other memorabilia that display the Confederate flag imagery,” spokeswoman Rachel Chan told Reuters in an email.
[…] The scale of sales of Confederacy-related items on Alibaba platforms was not immediately clear.
A search on Taobao for “Confederate flag” still produced a lot of results on Wednesday. A search for the Chinese term for “Nazi” produce a message stating that no results can be displayed due to relevant laws and regulations. In English, the search produces books about World War II.
Meanwhile, a proposal for the government to ban the flag entirely has gained traction across the US, prompting white supremacists to use the issue as a “rallying cry for their views”, according to officials with the civil rights group Southern Poverty Law Center, who said that the fringe groups have likened the removal of the flag to “cultural genocide”.