/Chinese hate speech case: They made me feel deeply hurt and helpless, says SA man

Chinese hate speech case: They made me feel deeply hurt and helpless, says SA man

The Equality Court, sitting in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, will continue to hear a hate speech case on Wednesday which The Chinese Association (TCA) lodged against 12 respondents.  

The matter, which made its way to court in March, was lodged after the respondents posted a series of emotionally charged comments on the Facebook pages of investigative television show Carte Blanche and the Karoo Donkey sanctuary. Carte Blanche broadcast an investigative insert on the treatment of donkeys in early 2017.

READ | Chinese Association files hate speech complaint

The association said the comments, which suggested that Chinese people were “not human”, “vile” and “barbaric”, were hurtful.

The 12 respondents are accused of hate speech, harassment and unfair discrimination. 

The association presented its evidence on Monday and Tuesday. 

Hurtful

In a statement, it said other comments were that Chinese people should be “wipe[d] out” and that “we should start killing their children”. 

On Tuesday, the court heard from the chairperson of TCA Erwin Pon, who described some of the comments as hurtful.  

Meanwhile, in an affidavit which was presented to the court, a member of TCA, Henry Wing, said he became “extremely despondent” when he saw the comments.

“They made me feel deeply hurt and helpless, as though many white people will never stop seeing us as inferior and foreign, no matter how many years passed since apartheid was abolished.  

“Upon reading the comments of the twelve respondents, I felt a deep sense of hurt and anger,” Wing said.   

“The negative emotions that I experienced during the apartheid years, welled up within me. The memories of the injustices and injuries inflicted on Chinese people and other people of colour through white supremacy and hatred came to the fore again.” 

Chairperson of The Chinese Association, Erwin Pon and members of his delegation handing over a complaint of hate speech to Commissioner Matlhodi Angelina Makwetla at the South African Human Rights Commission in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. (Nation Nyoka, News24, file)

Wing said in February 2017, he attended a special general meeting of TCA, which had been called to determine an appropriate way to address the comments. 

At that meeting, he supported a motion to institute legal proceedings against those responsible for publishing the comments, he said.  

“I felt strongly that we the South African Chinese community, had to stand up for ourselves, defend our human dignity and sense of national belonging and send a powerful message that this kind of hateful bigotry cannot be tolerated in post-apartheid South Africa.”

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