Australia PM accused of racism after he said ‘ni hao’ (‘你好’) to Korean woman
The Asian woman appeared to have said "ni hao" to him first.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been accused of racism.
This was after he greeted a Korean woman with a “ni hao“, which is Mandarin Chinese for “Hello”.
The incident happened on Saturday, April 13, during his first street walk of his election campaign in Strathfield, a western suburb in Sydney.
“No, no, no, I’m Korean”
In a clip that has been widely circulated online, Morrison could be heard saying to an Asian woman: “Hello. How are you? Ni hao, how are you?”
The woman then promptly replied: “No, no, no, I’m Korean.”
She could be heard saying to Morrison that she was from the Korean community.
Morrison then moved on to greet other voters.
Before he made the blunder, he had visited a Korean restaurant, where he helped the workers make some cakes.
— Charis Chang (@CharisChang2) April 13, 2019
Morrison has since come under fire on social media, with many commenters feeling second-hand embarrassment from his gaffe.
A Twitter user said that Koreans and Chinese “all look the same to him”, while another said he is like that “embarrassing uncle that used to try to talk to your friends in the latest lingo and made a complete fool of himself”.
Many others made fun of him too.
My first policy if elected will be mandatory “Which kind of Asian are they?” training for Scott Morrison. https://t.co/LfpOZYOScy
— michael hing (@hingers) April 13, 2019
Hi I'm Scott from Europe, ni hao Asian person
— Davey Boy🥚 (@_NogoodBoyo) April 13, 2019
Some online even accused him of racism.
A Twitter user said that Strathfield is a suburb with a huge Korean population, and that it was “racist and stupid” to assume that Asian-looking people are Chinese.
Earlier on in the day, Morrison had accused an opposition Member of Parliament (MP) of stirring up racist sentiment .
But there were quite a number of commenters who did not think there was anything wrong with the short exchange.
A few commenters also pointed out that the woman seemed to have said “ni hao” first to the prime minister.
— maz 🇦🇺 (@mazz_sat) April 13, 2019
Huge Chinese and Korean populations
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a 2016 census revealed that 19.6 percent of the population in Strathfield had Chinese ancestry.
In contrast, 9.9 percent of respondents said they had Korean ancestry.
Top image via Sky News Australia