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Estee Lauder subsidiary posts controversial Instagram, triggering online debate in China

By Sun Wenyu (People's Daily Online)    17:12, May 27, 2017

Cosmetics brand Smashbox, a subsidiary of Estee Lauder, has sparked online debate among Chinese netizens after posting a controversial message on Instagram.

“CREATED AT SMASHBOX PHOTO STUDIO L.A.| Cruelty Free (We don’t sell in China),” the company captioned a photo on Instagram. Chinese netizens responded with indignance to the perceived dig.

Smashbox was founded in 1996. It is certified by animal protection organization PETA as cruelty-free, since it does not test its products on animals. However, the Chinese government requires foreign cosmetics brands to test products on animals before they enter the Chinese market, in order to ensure the safety of consumers.

Some foreigners strongly oppose the requirement, calling for a boycott of all brands that test their products on animals. A number of animal protection organizations in Europe have released lists of cruelty-free products; any time a company enters the Chinese market, its name is deleted from the list.

As a subsidiary of Estee Lauder, which does sell its products in China, Smashbox was likely looking prevent the misconception that it also tests on animals, as its parent company does. However, some believe that it is safest to test cosmetics on animals, and that the statement by Smashbox indicates prejudice against China. Others, meanwhile, say the company was just making an objective statement, and that critics are reading too much into it.

China is not the only country that requires animal testing for cosmetic products. Japan, Australia and South Korea also have similar rules. In addition, China recently released new guidelines that waive the animal-testing requirement for some domestically produced makeup.

All the comments under the original Instagram post have been deleted by the company.

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(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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