Vietnamese have voiced out their anger regarding a Beijing restaurant’s refusal to serve customers from countries locked in maritime territorial disputes with China. The restaurant has put up signs on its windows that said, “This shop does not welcome Japanese, Filipinos, and Vietnamese, and dogs,” according to a photo posted by a Chinese-American user on Facebook last week.
The restaurant’s actions has drawn strong criticism in Vietnam, where tensions over the Spratly and Paracel islands have sparked a series of anti-China protests over the past two years. Lawyer Le Hieu Dang said he thought Chinese authorities’ should have taken action against the restaurant owner. “They should have told the restaurant to take that note off and disciplined them because that insults other people in the world. It is racism. The Beijing government should have strong measures against that,” he added. He said the racism evident in the sign was similar to China’s “bullying” of its smaller neighbors in its foreign policy. “I think people around the world will have strong reactions against this extreme nationalism, which shows the hatred between nations and how big country bullies small countries,” he said.
The owner of the restaurant in Beijing’s Houhai neighborhood, told BBC News this week that he didn’t care what others felt about the sign, and that he had put it up out of “patriotism.” He also said he has gotten support from his Chinese customers. George P. Jan, a U.S.-based former professor of Chinese politics, said that the views of one restaurant owner should not be taken as representative of all of China. “This sign does not represent the attitude of most Chinese people. I think it is unwise and emotional. Chinese people are not opposed to all Japanese, Filipinos, or Vietnamese indiscriminately,” he said. He said nationalism could cause people to get carried away with their views.
China is currently embroiled in territorial disputes with Japan over islands in the East China Sea, and with the Philippines and Vietnam over islands in the South China Sea. Tensions with Japan over the disputes boiled over into a wave of anti-Japanese protests in numerous Chinese cities last fall.[ via Radio Free Asia ]