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Spanish embassy 'deeply regrets' the insulting show

2014-05-23 16:33 chinadaily.com.cn Web Editor: Wang Fan

The embassy of Spain in China Friday issued an apology for a Spanish TV comedy show insulting the Chinese people, saying it "deeply regrets" the discomfort provoked in China.

In a latest program of the "AIDA" series aired on the Spanish TV station Telecinco, or Tele 5, a Chinese person named "Wang" enters a Spanish bar, but a customer points at a signboard carrying the words "Chinese and dogs are not allowed to enter." Then, wearing a pair of rubber gloves for cleaning toilets, the customer drives the Chinese out of the bar.

The show has evoked strong indignation among the local Chinese community, especially those in the restaurant business, who think the show has severely insulted the Chinese people. The character "Wang", who runs a food store, has been mocked in every episode of this program. The actor this time was reported to be a Japanese student.

Appology from the TV station

With pressure from all sides, the Spanish TV station finally issued an open letter of apology, saying it was a misunderstanding and "may be a misunderstanding that led to Chinese people's feelings being hurt." The TV station also said it "did not intend to ridicule or belittle the Chinese people, not to mention initiating any racist attacks on the Chinese community."

At the end of the letter, the station promised that, "in any case, in our future artist activity development, we will avoid anything that might arouse protests. We have sincere respect for Chinese culture, and this will be reflected in our future cultural works."

Response from the Chinese Foreign Ministry

At a regular press conference on Jan 9, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying also demanded an apology from the Spanish side, saying that "we think the Spanish television channel involved should acknowledge its mistakes, respond to the legitimate public demands sincerely, take measures to eliminate the negative effect caused by the incident, and learn from the incident to avoid a similar event happening again."

Response from Chinese embassy in Spain

Chinese counselor to Spain Zhu Jian said he totally understands the feelings of Chinese living in Spain and the Chinese embassy has asked the TV station to respect Spain's cultural spirit of openness and diversity. He believes the problem is the TV station's not the Spanish government or people.

Tele 5's long entanglement in humiliating Chinese

It was not the first time that this particular TV station had provoked the Chinese community in Spain.

Last year in April, it aired a show that accused Chinese restaurants in Madrid of serving dubious meat, implying it might be dog, cat or even human meat.

The incident triggered strong protests from the Spanish Association of Chinese Foods Suppliers and the local Chinese community.

Five months ago, it broadcast another comedy show that insulted the Chinese people and mocked the quality and service in Chinese restaurants.

The offending comedy, which went out on the privately owned Telecinco channel on New Year's Eve, showed a Spanish actor playing a hapless Chinese waiter. With a long braid and wearing a skullcap and Chinese costume, he jumped up and down and made all sorts of exaggerated gestures. What's more, the show implied the Chinese restaurant served dog and cat meat.

The local Chinese community immediately held an emergency meeting and submitted a letter of protest to the Tele 5 station. The Chinese Embassy in Spain also sent a letter of protest to the president and director of Tele 5, expressing strong condemnation and demanding an apology.

There were three similar incidents in just a year. The latest incident circulated widely among the local Chinese community, who finally decided to take action to stop further insults.

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