German restaurant removed by Michelin Guide for insulting Chinese

By Xu Keyue Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/17 20:58:40

A screenshot shows the restaurant Im Schiffchen in Düsseldorf, German Photo: China Central Television Sina Weibo account

A German restaurant was removed by the Michelin Guide, which rates restaurants around the world with a ranking of stars, after its chef said it doesn't welcome Chinese - a comment that drew claims of racism and provoked overseas Chinese in Germany, who complained to local media and the Guide over the incident.

The chef and owner of high-end restaurant Im Schiffchen in Düsseldorf recently made the improper comments on Facebook when he announced his eatery's reopening after a lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "We start on Friday, but only with our bistro. No Chinese wanted!!!" wrote the chef, Jean-Claude Bourgueil.

The Global Times found that the reported posts were not available on the chef's Facebook account on Sunday. 

The comment immediately triggered outrage in the public, especially among overseas Chinese in Germany. Floods of netizens expressed their condemnation over the racist remark. Many called for a boycott of the restaurant. 

Challenged by the backfire, the chef issued a statement saying his comments were "thoughtless and completely wrong." He did not mean any harm to the Chinese, but to the Chinese "governor."

However, his excuse failed to quell public anger.

The Michelin Guide on Friday strongly criticized the chef's discriminatory remarks on its WeChat account, saying it had decided to remove the restaurant from the list of recommended establishments. 

The restaurant's ratings on major websites have plummeted, with only a score of 2.2 (out of 5) on Google reviews, according to media reports.

The Global Times on Sunday searched the restaurant on Michelin Guide's official global website but no results showed up.

A Chinese student surnamed Chen who studies in Munich, Germany, told the Global Times on Sunday that she and her many Chinese friends had learned of the incident and would not go to the restaurant if they visited Düsseldorf. 

The incident is not an isolated case but a reflection of the rise of racism and xenophobia during the pandemic, Zhu Wei, a communications researcher at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, told the Global Times. 

Some Western media and politicians have hyped rumors against China and tried to smear Chinese people during the pandemic, which attracted "unthinking" local followers, Zhu said.

The removal came after overseas Chinese in Germany complained to the Michelin Guide and local media over the issue. 

The German overseas Chinese anti-epidemic work committeeand 23 other overseas Chinese groups in the country sent a joint letter to a local media outlet Rheinische Post to express their dissatisfaction, and the outlet later reported the incident. Another local media outlet Westdeutsche Zeitung described the behavior by the chef as a "scandal."

Ye Zengya, head of the German overseas Chinese anti-epidemic work committee, told the China News Service that "we will firmly protest against the rise of racism and xenophobia while helping each other in the fight against the epidemic."

Newspaper headline: German restaurant removed by Michelin for insulting Chinese

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