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Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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German EU Commissioner Makes Racist Remarks Against Chinese

The European Union’s Digital Economy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger received flak for his speech

(Photo : Pixabay) The EU's Digital Economy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has been slammed for making insulting remarks about Chinese people.

The European Union's Digital Economy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has received flak for a speech he made, which has been branded as "racist" and "homophobic."

Oettinger delivered the speech last week in Hamburg. He was recently named the new EU budget commissioner.

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An amateur video on YouTube shows Oettinger calling Chinese people "slitty-eyed." He also made disparaging remarks about a delegation of Chinese ministers claiming that they had "their hair combed from left to right with shoe polish." However, Oettinger defended himself saying that he did not mean to be disrespectful towards China. He told Die Welt newspaper, "That was a somewhat sloppy expression."

Oettinger has also been accused of making homophobic comments. Discussing pensions and maternity leave, he added that it is likely that Germany will introduce "perhaps compulsory gay marriage" soon. His comment received some laughter from the audience.

In his speech, he talked about China's growing investments in Germany and Europe. He expressed concern that China is not ready to open its market in return for such investments.

Oettinger has selected to succeed Kristalina Georgieva as EU budget commissioner. Reacting to his remarks, French Activist group SOS Racisme has called upon German Chancellor Angela Merkel to "impose an adequate punishment" on Oettinger.

The remarks have been widely condemned. Oettinger has been criticized by Katarina Barley, the secretary general of Germany's centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), who noted that his racist and homophobic comments show that Oettinger is not qualified for top political posts. The Greens in the European Parliament has also criticized the remarks.

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