‘Racist’ Beijing Restaurant Sign Taken Down

2013-02-28
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The window of a Beijing restaurant displays a sign refusing service to Japanese, Filipinos, and Vietnamese on Feb. 26, 2013.
AFP

Following a deluge of online protests, a Beijing restaurant has taken down an offensive sign barring customers from countries locked in territorial disputes with China.

The sign posted in the restaurant’s window read, “This shop does not welcome Japanese, Filipinos, Vietnamese, and dogs,” in English and Chinese.

Photos of the sign posted on the Facebook social networking site last week have gone viral, drawing international condemnation about racism and xenophobia.

On Thursday, the restaurant manager, surnamed Wang, told Agence France-Presse that he removed the sign “because it was a lot of bother.”

But he said he was not sorry about having put it up.

"I don't have any regrets," he said. "I was just getting too many phone calls about it."

Tense ties

The signs provoked outcry in the Philippines and Vietnam, which have overlapping claims with China over the Spratly and Paracel islands in the potentially resource-rich South China Sea.

In the Philippines, images of the Beijing restaurant sign were splashed across newspapers Wednesday.

The sign provoked thousands of comments on social networking sites and newspaper websites in Vietnam.

Vietnamese commentators said the racism evident in the restaurant sign was similar to China’s “bullying” of its neighbors, and the state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper called it an example of "extreme nationalism.”

Tensions over the islands sparked a series of anti-China protests over the past two years in Vietnamese cities, with activists criticizing Hanoi for not standing up enough to what they see as China’s “aggressive” foreign policy in the region.

Japan is involved in a separate dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea, which boiled over into a wave of anti-Japanese protests in Chinese cities last fall.

Reported by Rachel Vandenbrink.