Cultural background to Danish politician’s hate of Chinese

“I hope that it will be 140 degrees and that all the Chinese will burn, so the world will be free of that Chinese filth.”

That was the dramatic statement which a Danish local politician, Fuat Yalan – originally from Turkey – suddenly one day seemingly out of the blue wrote on his Facebook page.

When the local newspaper Helsingør Dagblad called him on the phone, he even elaborated:

“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.”

In the following days, the Chinese Embassy in Denmark expressed its shock over the statement and his political party, the Social Democrats, demanded that he resigns from the party.

What happened?

Fuat Yalan himself has explained that he was misunderstood. His hatred was of course not towards all Chinese, but he was really upset because he had just watched a youtube video where he had seen some Chinese people abusing a white boy.

Fuat Yalan believed that what he had watched in the video clip was a mob of Chinese people, who kicked and pulled the hair of a little white boy. His conclusion was that they did this because he was white. One of the Chinese even crushed  the fingers of the boy by stepping on his hand. Bystanders did nothing to intervene.


On other websites, where people able to understand Chinese have discussed the incident, it turns out that the boy is in fact racially an Uyghur – a Turkic ethnic group living in the Xinjiang province of China. They are often blue eyed. The harsh treatment was linked to a theft, possibly of a motorcycle, by some other people who managed to get away while the boy was caught. The angry man says he wants his property back, a person understanding the language in the video explains.

The video with his and other comments is found here:—crush–the-hand-of-a-small-boy-in-China–GRAPHIC-

The violence in the video is upsetting, especially when you believe that what you are witnessing is a racist attack on a small boy and hear the screams of the little boy.

Apart from the attack itself, there is also a cultural dimension to the inactivity of the bystanders. Another hard-to-watch video shows how a little 2 year old Chinese girl is run over by a car in a narrow and busy street full of people. Several normal Chinese pass by her without helping the seriously injured girl. A second car runs over her but this time only over her legs. Eventually a garbage scavenger risks getting involved by crying for help and finally her mother appears – and the scavenger quickly disappears, too.

The reluctance to get involved is blamed on a famous case from Nanjing where a judge ruled that the person who brought an injured person to the hospital had responsibility for the injuries. But it runs deeper in the Chinese culture than this rather recent case from 2006.

In one of the comments, a viewer tries to explain:

“With regards to this incident, we first cannot blame the driver, who makes a living with his physical labor. We cannot close our eyes and demand that he bear too much responsibility, as he didn’t mean to hit someone either, and it was definitely very difficult to have noticed [the child], and afterward he was conflicted too, only he was afraid of bearing the burden of compensation and that’s why he chose to run away. I can sympathize with him. After all, running away means still having a life to live while not running might mean his life is completely ruined. Though running away means his conscience is to be condemned, how important is one’s conscience for the rabble where simply getting enough to eat is already a major accomplishment? Not betraying one’s conscience in reality is a kind of spiritual luxury.”

“The people who passed by are also not worthy of being blamed. To conclude that they are cold-blooded for turning a blind eye is a bit arbitrary. If it were a small cat or a small dog struggling on the ground, I think they would definitely give their attention, even kneel down to investigate the injuries, maybe even carrying them home to nurse them back to health. But when it is a child, everyone pretends they don’t see, it is always like this, almost without exception. This is not about whether or not a person is cold-blooded or not cold-blooded, but it is definitely about there being a very serious problem in society. These days, it is better to be less involved than more involved. Getting involved may very well mean getting majorly screwed. There are really too many of these kind of precedents, and everyone has silently evolved from these observations. No one is more qualified than anyone else to criticize.”

The video with the above comment appears in this news clip – after the advertisement:

The statement issued by the Chinese Embassy in Copenhagen after the Danish politician’s outburst of hate towards the Chinese does not reflect any of this background.

“We have noted the remarks. We are deeply shocked and vehemently against the irresponsible and extremist comments from a specific Danish politician and we don’t want to see a similar thing happen again,” Fu Wenyan, a spokesperson at the Chinese Embassy, wrote to Danish paper Ekstra Bladet.

“We also noticed that many Danes have voiced concern over the irresponsible comments. That proves that extremist words and racist actions will not win the day,” the statement added.


About Gregers Møller

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

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