Sunday, March 3, 2013

What do George Galloway and a Beijing restaurant manager have in common?

The idiot restaurant owner in Beijing who stuck the racist sign in the photo below outside his restaurant has now taken it down again, it transpires. The sign is bilingual, and the English (or rather the Chinglish) reads "This shop does not receive The Japanese The Phillippines The Vietnamese and dog."

The sign announces that people from the three countries currently involved in territorial disputes with China over uninhabited islands, and also dogs, will not be served. The reference is to the famous sign which supposedly once existed in Shanghai when it was occupied by foreign powers, forbidding "Chinese and dogs" from entering the premises.

The restaurant in question is located in Houhai, a touristy area of central Beijing which straddles a lake. The restaurant owner claims he has no regrets, but he was just getting too many phone calls about it. I'm glad to know somebody still cares. I hope there were many Chinese calling too.

Last week, British member of Parliament George Galloway walked out of a debate in Oxford University when he found out that the student he was debating against was Israeli. The motion of the debate was "Israel should withdraw from the West Bank immediately". After realizing that the other debater, who had an Israeli name, was indeed Israeli, Galloway got up and said "I don't recognize Israel and I don't debate with Israelis" as he walked out of the door. If not recognizing Israel can be considered legitimate, not debating with people because they were born in a certain country is just as bad as not serving them in your restaurant. 

Let's hope the principle that you should never discriminate against people on the basis of the country they were born in spreads wider and wider in the future, to include all Beijing restaurant owners and all British Members of Parliament.