SolarWorld accused of sending 'racist' anti-China holiday card
By Erik Siemers
SolarWorld is coming under fire by the Chinese American CEO of Grape Solar, Ocean Yuan, for a holiday card that SolarWorld sent to customers in Germany.
Grape Solar CEO Ocean Yuan on Tuesday urged U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to disassociate themselves from German solar panel-maker SolarWorld AG over a Christmas card he calls “racist.”
Yuan, a Chinese-American, said he was “outraged and disgusted” over a Christmas card he claims was sent by SolarWorld to its German customers featuring a caricature of an Asian man wearing a Santa suit.
“This card … demeans and offends me as a Chinese American and everyone of Chinese descent,” Yuan said in a letter sent to Wyden and Merkley, both Oregon Democrats.
Both Wyden and Merkley have expressed support for an effort by SolarWorld’s Hillsboro-based U.S. division to seek a trade action against Chinese rivals. SolarWorld argues that China has been dumping low-cost, subsidized panels into the U.S. market.
Yuan — whose Eugene-based Grape Solar is a major distributor of solar panels made from Chinese components — said Merkley and Wyden should be “embarrassed and outraged by the blatantly racist card.”
In a response, SolarWorld indicated that the card was sent only to a "limited number" of recipients and was not reviewed by anyone at Hillsboro-based SolarWorld Industries America Inc.
"SolarWorld AG apologizes for any offense that may have been caused by a holiday card that was distributed by SolarWorld AG to a limited number of recipients in Europe," said Milan Nitzchke, a spokesman for SolarWorld AG said in a statement. "SolarWorld AG honors and respects the full diversity of the world’s population, including the people of China. SolarWorld Industries America Inc. did not approve, use or distribute the card in any way."
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