Last weekend I wrote (in Swedish) about the satire show “Swedish News”, that created a minor diplomatic row between Sweden and China by broadcasting a segment about Chinese tourists that many deemed as racist.
The content led the Chinese authorities to demand an apology not only from the Swedish public television (SVT), but also from the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Then, a war of words begun.
The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs would not apologise, instead saying that Sweden enjoys freedom of speech and the press. SVT would not apologise to the Chinese authorities either, but did however issue an apology to any individuals that might have been offended by the content of the show.
Unsurprisingly, this was not enough for the Chinese authorities. As South China Morning Post describes closer in the article “Chinese embassy rejects second Swedish apology for satire on tourists“, the authorities kept demanding an even stronger apology from SVT.
On the Chinese embassy’s website, it threatened to take “further actions” against SVT would such an apology not take place. Apart from the racist segments, the embassy also wanted an apology for “Swedish News” publishing a map of China that did not include Taiwan.
During the last week, China’s embassy has issued no less than four (4!) press statements regarding the TV show:
“The Chinese Embassy Spokesperson’s Remarks on SVT’s Program Insulting China” (22 Sep)
“The Chinese Embassy Spokesperson Once Again Urges SVT to See its Mistake and Make Sincere Apology” (25 Sep)
“The Chinese Embassy Spokesperson: Never Accept a Hypocritical ‘Apology’” (27 Sep)
“The Chinese Embassy Spokesperson: Firmly Oppose Ill-Intentioned ‘Apologies’” (29 Sep)
The last statement came after “Swedish News”, which is a weekly show, last night did a very clever follow up on last week’s program.
In yesterday evening’s show, the host Jesper Rönndahl begun by apologising to every Chinese citizen that might had been offended by lat week’s content.
Then, he makes clear that there will be no apology whatsoever to the Chinese authorities, instead setting out bashing the political climate in China and its lack of freedom of speech and the press.
After complaints over a map of China were Taiwan was not included, “Swedish News” said they would this week publish a map including all the territories claimed by China.
After having apologised to any Chinese citizens that might have been offended by the show last week, host Jesper Rönndahl went on to scold the political climate and the lack of freedom of speech and the press in China. A part of the forced confession made by Swedish citizen Gui Minhai was included in the segment.
Within hours after yesterday’s show, the Chinese embassy issued a press statement which included the following text:
These “apologies” have no seriousness or sincerity at all. They have evaded the racist nature of the program, ignored the sinophobic contents and insults on China, and disregarded the harm to the national sentiment and dignity of China. Now the program has deliberately and viciously attacked the Chinese Government, and attempted to put the Chinese people against the Chinese Government, which is extremely ill-motivated. The Chinese Government enjoys full support of the nearly 1.4 billion Chinese people.
It is obvious that Chinese authorities are even more irritated after yesterday’s show, which brilliantly apologised to the Chinese people, but the same time criticised the Chinese Communist Party.
As a clever finish of yesterday night’s show, the house band played “Hey Sweden“, the song that nationalist rapper Pissy used to attack Jesper Rönndahl.
During the show, Rönndahl also explained that Pissy is a propaganda troll on the Chinese regime’s payroll.