China's envoy to Israel compares coronavirus travel bans to Holocaust

China's embassy in Israel has issued an apology for those who "understood our message the wrong way."

Israeli and Chinese flags.

Israeli and Chinese flags. Source: AAP

China's acting ambassador to Israel has caused a stir with remarks comparing the travel bans against Chinese citizens with the turning away of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.

In an English-language conference in Tel Aviv, Dai Yuming said the travel bans faced by Chinese citizens reminds him of "the old days, the old stories that happened in World War Two, the Holocaust, the darkest days in human history."

"Millions of Jewish were killed, and many, many Jewish were refused when they tried to seek assistance from other countries. Only very, very few countries opened their door, and among them is China," he said.

Dai Yuming delivers a speech on 19 March 2012.
Dai Yuming delivers a speech on 19 March 2012. Source: Chinese Embassy in Israel

The Chinese Embassy in Israel later released a statement apologising for the remarks.

"There was no intention whatsoever to compare the dark days of the Holocaust with the current situation and the efforts taken by the Israeli government to protect its citizens."

Israel has joined other countries in denying entry to non-national visitors who have recently been in China.

Israeli citizens recently returned from China have been instructed to self-isolate the virus incubation period of a fortnight.

, the US, Russia, Japan, Pakistan and Italy have announced similar travel restrictions.

Most of the more than 300 deaths from the virus have been inside China's Hubei province. More than 14,000 people have been infected.

2 min read
Published 3 February 2020 at 8:42am
By SBS News
Source: SBS