Danish racist rants decried
Updated: 2013-08-13 07:35
By Zhou Wa (China Daily)
A Danish politician's verbal assault on the Chinese people may not damage ties between the two nations, but the incident underscores Europeans' need to understand China better, analysts said on Monday.
Fuat Yalan, from Helsingor, Denmark, said on his Facebook page that he hopes "that the temperature reaches 140 degrees and that all the Chinese will burn, so the world will be free of Chinese filth".
He later said in an interview with the local newspaper Helsingor Dagblad that "if there was a Chinese person in front of me right now I would shoot him. I don't care if I'm thrown out of the party, kicked out of Denmark or shot myself. I don't care about politics, and I stand by my words."
Yalan, who is of Turkish ancestry, later said he had made the remarks because he had seen a video on YouTube that he said showed Chinese people "abusing" a boy.
Yalan criticized Helsingor Dagblad for printing his words, saying he had made the comments during a moment of emotional duress, the Copenhagen Post reported.
Zhen Jianguo, a former Chinese ambassador to Denmark, said Yalan's remarks are an isolated incident.
"It is an isolated case. I believe Yalan's irresponsible and racist statements do not represent the general opinion of the Danish government and its people," he said.
"The incident will not have a negative effect on the robust diplomatic atmosphere between China and Denmark."
Cui Hongjian, a European studies researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said that although Yalan's remarks aren't the views of Danish authorities, the possibility can't be ruled out that Yalan intentionally sought to demonize China.
In recent years, hostility against foreign cultures and countries has been a growing social problem in Nordic countries, including Denmark, in reaction to many immigrants with different cultural and religious backgrounds living there, he said.
Europeans' understanding of China is limited because most Europeans know China only for the products made in China, so there is an urgent need to help them understand the real China, he added.
Yalan's Socialdemokraterne party asked him to resign from Helsingor's city council. He apologized but refused, the Copenhagen Post reported.
"The comments were so volatile and so against our Socialdemokrat values that we don't feel that Fuat Yalan can represent our party," Vibeke Schmidt, head of Socialdemokraterne, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
Yalan's outburst came at a time when a large number of Chinese are suffering from the worst heat wave in more than a century. The Chinese embassy in Denmark sharply rebuked his comments.
"We have noted the remarks. We are deeply shocked and vehemently oppose the irresponsible and extremist comments from the Danish politician, and we don't want to see such a thing happen again," Fu Wenyan, a spokesperson at the Chinese embassy, wrote in the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet.
"We also noticed that many Danes have voiced concern over the irresponsible comments. That proves that extremist rants and racist actions will not win the day."