The diplomatic row between China and Sweden over the three Chinese tourists removed from a Stockholm hostel has escalated. One week after their removal, public service broadcaster SVT aired a satirical news show in which it advised Chinese tourists how to avoid culture clashes. The clip has sparked uproar on Chinese social media and a strong response from Beijing.
Initially, SVT said it would not apologise for the sketch but on Wednesday SVT entertainment chief Thomas Hall apologised on his blog “to those individuals who were offended” by the programme.
China is now threatening a tourist boycott of Sweden and a number of Swedish companies, including IKEA, fear trade relations will deteriorate as a result of the show.
“China is an important market for us. Both in the sense that we have many stores in the country, but also because we have some production in China. We are aware of what has happened and are following events closely,” says Felix Östman, press spokesperson for IKEA Sweden.
Mats Harborn, chair of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, says tensions have worsened between the two countries as a result of the show, suggesting SVT has harmed Sweden’s interests.
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