I know that the Chinese government is far from perfect. They have a history of not tolerating most kinds of deviation from free speech. They find nothing wrong with substituting a cute little singing girl with and even cuter lip sinker. And they have issues with the birth dates of their female gymnasts (at one point there was a post on one of their websites that admitted that one girl is actually 13- according to CNN).
As Americans, we take the good with the bad with China in an effort to promote trade, democracy and the dream of a perfect world . We let them know diplomatically when they have ticked us off- toxic paint on toys, dog meat and dog fur, Tibet, etc.
Spain may have taken their dislike of China to a racist level. In an ad campaign featuring some of their Olympic athletes,
Below is a photo of the Spanish men’s Olympics basketball team, using their index fingers as if to slant their eyes. This photo has sparked controversy with Asian rights groups.
Members of Spain’s Olympic men’s basketball team make gestures as they pose for an Olympics publicity photo. Toronto Raptors point guard Jose Calderon (No. 8) is a member of the team. (Seur/Associated Press)
The Spanish basketball denies the allegations of making a racist gesture,.
A group that represents Asians in the United States says the photo is “disturbing” and “divisive.” The photo has obviously not been widely circulated in China.
One Spanish baketball player, Jose Manuel Calderon, said in a blog www.josemanuelcalderon.com — that the picture has been “interpreted incorrectly.” Calderon, a native of Spain who also plays in the NBA for the Toronto Raptors. Another player says that some of his best friends are Chinese so it’s ok.
“This was clearly inappropriate, but we understand the Spanish team intended no offence and has apologized,” Emmanuelle Moreau, a spokeswoman for the International Olympic Committee, said in an e-mail. “The matter rests there as far as the IOC is concerned.”
The OCA, an organization representing Asian-Pacific Americans, also found the photo disturbing.
“It is unfortunate that this type of imagery would rear its head at a time that is supposed to be about world unity,” George Wu, the group’s deputy director, said in a statement.
London’s Daily Telegraph said Spain’s “poor reputation for insensitivity toward racial issues has been further harmed” by the photo.
When the free world talks about the Chinese government’s unfair policies and treatment of free speech it is fair game. However, racial bigotry and sterotyping is used it is another story on a whole other level far below rational in the 21st century. I would have thought that a country like Spain would have been past this kind of thing years ago.