Swedish national broadcaster SVT's satirical feature has been accused by the Chinese embassy of using racist and defamatory language against the Chinese people. In a statement on its website, China's Embassy in Sweden called for SVT to apologize.
China's embassy described SVT's feature as a "gross insult and vicious attack" advocating racism and instigating xenophobia and racial hatred. The Chinese embassy was also infuriated by SVT using a "wrong" map of China, where Taiwan and parts of Tibet were conspicuously absent, which was claimed to be a "serious infringement" on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
An embassy official contacted SVT program manager Thomas Hall to protest the content of the program, which featured a mock education film teaching Chinese tourists that pooping in front of historic sights was prohibited and informing them that Sweden cares for all people's rights, except for Chinese.
"He was sad and angry because SVT broadcasted something he perceived as racist. I tried to convince him that we were in fact doing the opposite, poking fun at the stereotypical picture of the Chinese and Asians," Thomas Hall told SVT. "He didn't buy it and demanded an apology and the removal of the program. I explained that we cannot apologize because I think we haven't done anything wrong," Hall added.
According to Hull, it's impossible to miss the humoristic nature of the program, as long as one has a sufficient command of the Swedish language.
"It's a compact script with many twists and turns, so it requires its language skills to keep up with," Thomas Hall suggested.
Following the incident, SVT program leader Jesper Rönndahl, who was featured in the divisive broadcast, posted a screenshot with the embassy's statement on his Instagram account.
"It looks like we've embarked on a diplomatic crisis with a superpower," Rönndahl wrote.
The Chinese embassy's pledge to reserve the right to take further action looks particularly ominous. Nevertheless, Thomas Hall sees no reason to worry.
"We have gone through the program with ethical advisors and lawyers, so I fell we should be safe," Hall concluded.
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SVT-programmet "Svenska nyheter" med Jesper Rönndahl visade i fredags en satirisk fejkad informationsfilm riktad till kinesiska turister. Filmen har fått Kinas ambassad att gå i taket och de anklagar SVT för att vara rasistiska. ▪️ I inslaget säger de bland annat att det är förbjudet att bajsa utanför historiska byggnader, att Sverige värnar om alla människors lika värde — förutom kinesers — och att personer som är ute och går med sin hund inte gör det för att de precis köpt lunch. ▪️ "Jag tror att de har missat poängen i vårt budskap. Vi vill visa på att det fortfarande känns som att det är en lägre tröskel och mindre laddat att skämta om kineser och asiater. Det är ett satirprogram, vi ska ta ut svängarna", säger SVT:s programchef Thomas Hall till Aftonbladet. ▪️ Foto: Magnus Liam Karlsson /SVT
"China demands exuse from SVT," a piece by Swedish radio channel P3 with a snapshot of a nonplussed Jesper Rönndahl
In the program, which was first broadcasted on Friday, SVT anchor Jesper Rönndahl highlighted a recent incident, when three Chinese tourists were ejected from a hostel in Stockholm following a violent drama that demanded police intervention. The Chinese embassy requested a thorough investigation of the incident it referred to as "brutal abuse."