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While France frets over burqinis, Chinese women have been wearing ‘facekinis’ without issue for years

A Chinese woman and her daughter wear face-kinis while swimming on August 22, 2014 in the Yellow Sea in Qingdao, China. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

While the battle rages over the “burqini” on the French Riviera following a high court’s decision last week to overturn one town’s ban on the burqa-like bathing suit, internet users have been pointing out that on the other side of the world, Chinese women have been wearing “facekinis” for years. The full-face covering protects women’s skin from sun damage and wrinkles and prevents sunburn and tanning, allowing Asian women to achieve paler skin, according to The New York Times.

Yao Wenhua, 58, told the paper in 2012 that she wore the facekini covering because she was “afraid of getting dark.”

“A woman should always have fair skin,” she added. “Otherwise people will think you’re a peasant.”

Women wear the full-face covers on the beach and in the water, sometimes along with full-body bathing suits.

Chinese social media users have been quick to ask whether France would also ban the facekini, and if not, what rationale they could provide for banning the burqini, as at least 30 towns in France have done.

“This is not a step toward civilization, but a step back to the barbarity of intervening in personal affairs. If you’re allowed to be naked, you should be allowed to be entirely covered up,” Weibo user Li Ahong wrote about the ban.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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