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Some asked whether Zara wanted to "uglify" the Chinese public by featuring a freckled model
A fierce row has broken out in China - and it is all down to some freckles.
Li Jingwen, professionally known as Jing Wen, has attracted considerable attention for her freckled appearance in a campaign for a new range of cosmetics for Spanish fashion retailer Zara.
Chinese daily Global Times says that her freckles have made her appearance "iconic". But they have sparked debate in Chinese social media, as it is rare for Chinese people to have them.
Some say her appearance in the campaign "uglifies" the Chinese people, but others have leapt to her defence, calling for more to be done in the country to help people embrace their natural beauty.
'I really hated them'
Jing Wen, who is from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, has become a recognisable face in the modelling world over the last five years.
She has modelled for a number of luxury and high-street brands, including Calvin Klein and H&M.
Jing Wen - it is rare for Chinese people to have freckles [Photo Getty]
She has not responded to the advert controversy, but has spoken about her earlier insecurities at having freckles. She told Vogue magazine in October 2016: "When I was little, I really hated them because normally Asian people don't have them.
"In high school, I always tried to cover them, but now it's ok. I like them, and that's enough."
Having clear, unblemished skin has been the preferred beauty norm for decades in China, as well as in wider East Asia.
Consequently, her appearance in Zara's latest campaign has been regarded as controversial in China, and drew significant backlash from users on the popular Sina Weibo microblog.
Since Zara launched its advertising campaign on Friday, many in China have voiced confusion about the brand's decision to feature a model with freckles.
Some said that Ms Li's appearance looked "ugly" to them.
Others have gone further, questioning whether Zara was "insulting" or "defaming the Chinese", with one saying: "such pictures featuring an Asian model with freckles and an expressionless pie-shaped face mislead Westerners' impressions about Asian women, and can lead to racism against Asian women."