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VOA: Swedish Television Host Says He Will Apologize, but not to the Chinese Government

Voice of America reported that a well-known Swedish television host said in a program that had been broadcast on Friday, September 28, that, although he was sorry for his lack of cultural sensitivity, he would not apologize to the Chinese government, which does not respect freedom of speech. On the show, the host, Ronndahl, showed a revised version of a map of the world. The revised map was covered with the Chinese flags everywhere and the world was red. He satirized China and said, “The whole world is yours.” The Chinese Embassy in Sweden issued a statement on Saturday expressing a strong protest, saying that the TV station “had vicious intentions and was trying to set the Chinese people against the Chinese government.” The statement also criticized the “so-called” apology from the Swedish television host and claimed that the apology “dodged the issue about what racism is.” The statement also said that the Chinese government is a government that has the “heartfelt support” of nearly 1.4 billion Chinese people.

The incident started with an initial report about a Chinese family involved in a hotel dispute in Sweden. The family claimed that, in dealing with the case, the Swedish police were rude and that they had a racial bias against the Chinese people. Later it was exposed on the Internet that the Chinese tourists wanted to stay in the hotel for one free night {saying they arrived the day before their booking}. After their tactic was exposed, the hotel rejected their request. The family members started to argue with the hotel staff and the police ended up removing them from the hotel. Since the event took place, the dispute between the two countries has become more and more fierce.

A Swedish comedic TV host used the hotel incident to remind Chinese tourists to be mindful of the local culture {Editor’s note: The host advised Chinese tourists not to mistake dogs for food or to defecate in public.} The Chinese government strongly protested. China slammed the show for maliciously insulting the Chinese people, accused the program of not including Taiwan and Tibet as part of China on the map they showed on the program, and demanded an apology.

The host said about Friday’s show that Chinese netizens had been bullying him. He also said that he would apologize for a joke that made one billion people uncomfortable and apologize to those who felt hurt. However, he said he would not apologize to the Chinese government because he believed that the Chinese government does not respect freedom of speech.

Source: Voice of America, September 29, 2018