German EU Commissioner Sparks Outrage After Calling Chinese People ‘Slit Eyes’

Photo by Jacques Grießmayer (CC BY 3.0)

German EU commissioner Guenther Oettinger has drawn flak for referring to Chinese people as “slit eyes”.

Oettinger made the remark while speaking to businessmen in Hamburg last week, Reuters reported. He called the reference “sloppy” but justified why it had to be said:

“That was a somewhat sloppy remark that was in no way meant to be disrespectful to China. You have to see the broader context in which I made my remarks. In my speech, I wanted to warn Germany of too much self-confidence.”

Photo by Claas Augner / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Oettinger, a senior member of chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, raised several issues in his speech such as maternity leave and allowances.

He also mentioned “compulsory gay marriage” as a looming possibility.

Photo by Jacques Grießmayer (CC BY 3.0)
Photo by Jacques Grießmayer (CC BY 3.0)

Apparently, Oettinger has been making controversial slurs since 1988, according to Politico. He even received an award “for particularly notable mistakes in dealing with the German language.”

With his recent comments, the German Federation of Lesbians and Gays (LSVD) and politicians from Greens and Social Democrats responded in criticism.

LSVD spokesperson Stefanie Schmidt said:

“An EU commissioner must be able to convincingly represent the European values of non-discrimination and not put the case for racist and homophobic prejudices.”

Katarina Barley, SPD Secretary General, told Der Spiegel:

“Someone who openly taps into such racist and homophobic feelings of prejudice disqualifies himself for top positions in politics. An EU budget commissioner with such a philosophy could damage the EU as a whole.”

Meanwhile, Green politician Volker Beck called the commissioner a “lunatic goblin” afraid of gays.

Oettinger became the new EU budget commissioner last week, replacing Kristalina Georgieva, Deutsche Welle noted.

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: info@nextshark.com