The Economist rephrases racist comment comparing Chinese to pigs
A racist comparison made by The Economist is withdrawn, and the paper said it did not mean to cause offense to the Chinese people.
In an effort to promote an article entitled "Most of the world's grain is not eaten by humans," UK publication The Economist deleted a tweet on Wednesday, in which it compared the Chinese people to pigs.
The paper-faced harsh criticism in response, as the tweet, which read "in 2019 pigs ate 432m tonnes of grain, 45% more than the people of China did", was seen by many to have been racist and dehumanizing.
The sentence in question was a direct quote from the article, which says that the world can in fact produce enough grain to meet humanity's needs, despite the food crisis brought on by the war in Ukraine.
However, the problem in securing this grain arises from 43% of it being burned off as biofuel or being used to feed animals. The percentage in question is equal to six times the output of grain of both Russia and Ukraine combined.
The Economist later rephrased its comparison and clarified that it did not intend to cause offense. "As our intention was never to cause offence, we have rephrased the article to make our meaning absolutely clear."
"In a Graphic setting out how most of the world's grain is fed to animals or used to make biofuel, we observed that 431m tonnes of grain is eaten by pigs and that, if it were a stand-alone country, this would rank at the very top of the league tables for grain consumption. By way of comparison, we pointed out that this is 45% more than the real-life country that consumes the most rice and wheat, which is China," The Economist explained in an e-mail to China's Global Times.
The British publication deleted its tweet on Wednesday; however, it did not make any apology for its mistake.