“America owes China a lot of money, $1.3 trillion. How should we pay them back?” One of the kids suggested, “We should go all the way to the other side of the planet and kill everyone in China.”
The episode appeared on an American Broadcasting Company (ABC) TV show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live”, on 16 October 2013 in which the popular American comedian Jimmy Kimmel held a Kid's Table discussion on the US government's debt crisis. The episode has annoyed some American Chinese communities whose sentiments have travelled back to mainland China via social media over the past month.
Fortunately, most Chinese are aware that the comment, though annoying, is kid's talk after all and ABC and Jimmy Kimmel have made open apologies. To address the prejudice against mainland Chinese, an animation called the Undying Chinese, was released on November 2 and circulated widely online.
The professional video produced by video marketing company vmini.com and published by dig.chouti.com, a social media portal similar to reddit.com, has taken a humorous approach to the kid's comment by reviewing the history of China from ancient times, its role in the world's division of labour and why killing Chinese is not a good idea and not viable.
The initial response on the American kid's comment was more antagonistic in the U.S. A pan-Asian-American political organization called 80-20 compared the speech to Nazi's rhetoric and put up a petition on October 18 demanding the White House investigate the issue. The petition said:
The kids might not know anything better. However, Jimmy Kimmel and ABC’s management are adults. They had a choice not to air this racist program, which promotes racial hatred. The program is totally unacceptable and it must be cut. A sincere apology must be issued. It is extremely distasteful and this is the same rhetoric used in Nazi Germany against Jewish people. Please immediately cut the show and issue a formal apology.
So far, 88,499 have signed the petition. ABC quickly responded with an open letter of apology to the petition on October 28 but failed to make peace and stop the American Chinese protest action.
A number of protests took place last weekend and former chief of the Chinese Student Union at Stanford University, Pang Linyong, collected photos from the protest scene in his Weibo. Pang, who is now settled in Silicon Valley in Californa, made a nationalistic call [zh] on October 29:
Chinese who don't want to be killed should act. Tell your friends to boycott ABC and its mother company Disney. Boycott Disneyland's theme park and animation until ABC apologizes and fires Jimmy Kimmel. If you still consider yourself Chinese, forward this message to your friends and boycott ABC together. The American Chinese are rallying in San Francisco and New York. Please tell others.
But his nationalistic call did not get much support, so far only 18 people have forwarded his messages back in Weibo. After all it is kid's talk. As Rensi from ChinaSMACK pointed out, “Little Brats” exist in every countries and the blogger collected a number of typical annoying kid's behaviors in China as a response to the Kid's Table discussion.
The best way to address antagonistic sentiment is a sense of humor and good knowledge of the subject of hatred. In this respect, the Undying Chinese video has done an excellent job.