Chinese protesters urge Dacre to eat Mail's words

Campion’s attack on Chinese food prompted protest outside Daily Mail HQ

Members of the Chinese community tried but failed to deliver a free meal to Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre on Monday to protest that "the half-baked Chop Phooey article written by Charles Campion was a prawn ball short of a takeaway".

Joined by master chef Deh-ta, they had ensured the meal included dishes against which Campion – editor of a restaurant guidebook – had railed in his op-ed article on 7 August.

The protesters were turned away at the door of Associated Newspapers’ HQ in Kensington. "Paul Dacre chickened out of meeting us and hid in his office," claimed Thomas Chan of the Chinese Takeaway Association.

The Mail editor was on holiday and has been since last week. Had the protesters telephoned beforehand, they would have been told this, said a company spokesman.

Chan said: "Dacre clearly knows he has done wrong but hasn’t the decency to correct his mistake. It seems that national newspaper editors can attack minorities with impunity and without conscience, threatening racial harmony in this country." Nor had Dacre replied to a letter of complaint.

But the Mail spokesman refuted this, claiming that the paper had replied to the association and the Chinese in Britain Forum.

Chan said: "We are collecting signatures for a mass petition and will now present it to Mr Dacre on 16 September. We’ve tried contacting Charles Campion, but he appears to have gone to ground." He said the Chinese community was "very angry at the unfair and factually incorrect article".

Campaign co-ordinator Steve Lau said: "There are wider questions to this affair. The article has focused attention on the continuing problem of misrepresentation of the Chinese in the media. Where are the Chinese on television? There are none in the soaps, newsrooms or anywhere – with the exception of Banzai, where people from the Far East are made to look like fools."

Campion’s article described Chinese food as "far and away the dodgiest in the world, created by a nation which eats bats, snakes, monkeys, bears’ paws, birds’ nests, sharks’ fins, ducks’ tongues and chickens’ feet".

He said you could never be "exactly sure what the oozing, day-glo foodstuff balanced between your chopsticks actually is… How much was pork – and how much greasy, battered dough ball?"

A statement from the protesters said: "Failing a public apology from the Mail and Mr Campion, and correcting the record, we shall use all means legal and decent in pursuit of our demands."

By Jean Morgan

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