People of Asian appearance in the Netherlands are experiencing a surge of racism as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, according to NOS. A petition has recently been set up to raise discussion and to urge the media to take initiative in order to appeal to politicians.
Attacks against Chinese have emerged in several ways. For instance, Wageningen, ‘Chinese die’ was scrawled in an elevator within a student complex and a Chinese flag on a student’s door was reportedly torn up, according to linda.nl.
A song that goes too far
More widespread is a satirical song on Radio 10 titled Voorkomen is beter dan Chinezen (translates loosely to ‘Prevention is better than Chinesing’) by artist Toon from Rotterdam.
The song caused public outcry, and for good reason. The song is offensive in several ways – for instance, one of the themes includes not eating ‘Chinese food’ anymore to prevent coronavirus.
— Monicaatje (@ooievaarskokkie) February 6, 2020
So much for a country that prides itself in being open, tolerant and liberal. Increasingly, it appears as if xenophobia and racism are becoming widespread in the Netherlands- this is especially problematic when politicians start to dissipate hateful messages instead of condemning them.
‘Enough is Enough’
The song prompted Vincent Yeers and Hui-Hui Pan to start a petition, we zijn geen virussen, (‘we are not viruses’) in response. ‘Enough is enough.’ they write, questioning why people would connect a serious virus with people of Chinese background and with Chinese culture: ‘would we also laugh if the song was about cancer?’ They wrote. ‘This affects not only those who are Chinese, but also Dutch people with an Asian background.’
So far so good. The petition has been signed over 26,000 times, with over 21,000 signatories in the Netherlands, showing that things that cross the line simply won’t be tolerated.
DJ Lex Gaarthuis, who was responsible for broadcasting the song has apologised, calling it ‘an error in judgement’ although at this point it doesn’t do much.
Have you experienced racism as a foreigner in the Netherlands? Are you (part-) Chinese and have encountered bullshit reactions? We’d love to hear your answer in the comments.