Is Chocolate Chinaman ‘Racist’?

The Chocolate giant Fazer has announced that it will redesign the packaging of a product they called “Kinapuffar” – China Pops – after a writer at Helsingborg Dagblad has managed to raise a debate, claiming the drawing of a yellow Chinese face wearing a Vietnamese farmers hat was racist.

Consequently, a survey by market research company Sifo found that actually most Swedes – 97 percent – did not find the picture on chocolate giant Fazer’s “Kinapuffar” offensive

Fazer decided to change the packaging following the publishing of a column in Swedish newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad (HD) which questioned the stereotypcal picture used to market the sweet.

In his column, HD journalist Patrik Lundberg wrote that “to joke and laugh at Asians seems to be the only racism which can pass by unremarked”.

“All it takes is stretching your eyes with your fingers or saying L instead of R, then the audience explodes with laughter,” Lundberg wrote.

After Fazer’s decision to revamp the packaging, Swedish artist Lars Vilks wrote an opinion piece on a Sveriges Television (SVT) website where he said that Lundberg was fighting a losing battle if he hoped to eradicate national stereotypes.

“It is probably impossible to get rid of prejudicial opinions on ethnic and national differences. You can tire yourself out by straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel,” Vilks wrote.

When the market survey company asked a thousand Swedes whether they thought the picture was offensive, only 3 percent said that they did.

Click on the source and enjoy the debate among readers of The Local about the subject.

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Gregers Møller

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