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Zara advert gets China asking: Are freckles beautiful?

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.

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, and are calling on more to be done in the country to help people embrace their natural beauty.

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.

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

"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 has received significant backlash from users on the popular Sina Weibo microblog.

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