‘Yellow people’ comments spark racist backlash

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2015-8-26 0:33:01

Scholars have criticized Chinese athletes and  media for using the phrase "yellow people" at an ongoing world track and field competition, calling the term "racist."

"It is inappropriate for athletes and media outlets to use the phrase with racist roots," Luo Xin, a Peking University historian, told the Global Times on Tuesday. Luo described the expression as "disgusting" on his personal Sina Weibo microblog on August 7. 

Luo's opinion was echoed by Tong Zhiwei, a professor at the East China University of Political Science and Law, who lashed out at the media because of its racist undertones, which should not be tolerated by civilized society.

Chinese swimmer Ning Zetao, the first Asian swimmer to have broken the 48-second barrier in the 100m freestyle event at the 2015 FINA World Championships and the first Chinese swimmer to win the event, said in an interview that "I am a yellow person, I am a Chinese and I made it!"

Another athlete, Su Bingtian, who recently became the first Chinese to be put in the men's 100m final at the world championships, said "previously, I felt very nervous competing against top foreign athletes. I will be no longer afraid of them and I will let black athletes fear yellow people."

Headlines that highlighted the phrase "yellow people" were seen in Chinese media, including the news website of the official Xinhua News Agnecy.

Luo said that many Chinese people, including some scholars, are unaware of its racist undertones. In an article he published on his Weibo, he said that expressions like "yellow people" or "yellow skin" have largely disappeared from mainstream Western media and research papers.

However, Huang Jianbo, a professor at East China Normal University, told the Global Times that he can understand that "saying 'yellow people' is the Chinese people's way of expressing their national pride."

Posted in: Society

blog comments powered by Disqus