The latest online ad of Zara stirred debate and criticism in China. Photo: Weibo

Chinese consumers are known to have hearts as fragile as glass. Months after the allegedly “racist” D&G ad, Zara was involved in a similar controversy that almost killed its latest ad campaign.

But a couple of mainland mouthpieces backed up The Spanish fashion brand and told the Chinese not to be too sensitive.

At issue was China’s top model Li Jingwen, the public face of Zara’s latest cosmetics campaign”Beauty is here”, that featured the freckles on the model’s face.

But the ad drew some angry comments online after its launch on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, last Friday. Many questioned why Zara would pick a Chinese girl with freckles on her face.

Was it “another” attempt to defame the Chinese? Or is it just a natural look?

So, the hashtag #Zara has attracted 460 million people to read the debate.

In a statement, Zara said it meant no harm in the ad. The photos of the model were taken in an all-natural way without any software manipulation, it said, and the reactions may just be a different outlook in regard to aesthetics.

Both the China Daily and China Youth joined in the chorus in support of Zara.

China Daily said it could be understandable that those complaining about Zara’s new ad did so to prevent the nation’s image from being hurt.

“However, their deeds show over-sensitivity and a lack of cultural confidence,” the paper said. “It shows they are so afraid of being hurt that they tend to take a defensive gesture against any move they do not understand.

“Cultural confidence is just being promoted by the leadership of this country, and tolerance is an essential part of it. Only when we learn to tolerate each other in terms of aesthetic, will cultural confidence be owned by everyone.”

China Youth, meanwhile, said the topic of insulting China should not be abused, but those who criticized Li Jingwen had indeed insulted their the fellow Chinese.

Zara is luckier than fellow competitor Dolce & Gabbana, which took a beating over its controversial ad featuring a Chinese model in a red D&G dress who use chopsticks to eat pizza and spaghetti.

Due to overwhelming critical, D&G had to cancel its Shanghai fashion show and it is yet to win back the hearts of Chinese consumers.

Read: Dolce & Gabbana chopstick snafu a warning to global brands

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