Diplomatic dispute between China and Sweden escalates after ‘vicious’ comedy skit

A Swedish comedy program that advised Chinese tourists not to "poop outside" or eat dogs has attracted the ire of Chinese authorities, who have labelled it a "vicious attack" on China.

By Tsai Shan-Ling

A family identified as the Zengs from China arrived at the hostel in Sweden one day before their check in time and asked to stay in the lobby. However, the hotel staff refused the request and asked them to leave. When they objected, hotel staff called the police, which they were carried out screaming in English “This is killing, this is killing.”

The program Svenska Nyheter was broadcast in the wake of the incident, which China complained to Sweden over a satirical TV show it said was “racist and xenophobic”.

Svenska Nyheter, hosted by famous Swedish comedian Jesper Rönndahl, follows a similar format to John Oliver’s popular Last Week Tonight. This satirical program on Swedish state television (STV) has offered Chinese tourists advice on how to avoid culture clashes, which China said was insulting.

At first the host teased on China about building 13 huge dams that the earth is spinning slower and make the North Pole moved two centimeters. Then, he made fun of Chinese cultural diversities, said “The Chinese regime has barely time to eat because there are so many minorities to oppress.”

At the end of the video, the SVT even created a clip to educate Chinese tourists that they shouldn’t “poop” outside of historical buildings, nor poop on their hands.

A part of the show warning Chinese tourists not to defecate in public.SVT Humor/YouTube

Since the video is so highly ironic, the Chinese government asked for a formal apology, said that the video not only insults Chinese people but also refers to a wrong map that Taiwan and Tibet are missing in China’s territory.

In order to react to the angry Chinese regime, the SVT really made an apology – in more ironic way.

On 28th September broadcast episode, the anchor showed a huge world map which is all covered by Chinese Five-star Red Flag. It indicated that China’s action on forcing other countries to admit Taiwan and Tibet belong to China is actually a bullying.

It’s not surprising that the Chinese government is provoked again, saying this kind of action is “vicious” and “not sincere at all”.

However, Jan Helin, the program director of SVT, claiming that there is no need to apologize more since the difference between ironic talk show and formal news is clear enough, and China should be able to recognize that.