The China Society is fighting back to regain its position of trust among food consumers following adverse reactions to a video of a dog allegedly being prepared for consumption for a Chinese restaurant and a fall out at its many eating places.
The society said the video as well as the comments of Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan, "who clearly implied that all Chinese eat dog meat and that all restaurants owned by Chinese serve dog meat to an unwary public and advised Trini people to go vegetarian," has badly wounded the entire Chinese community.
It said Chinese nationals and Trinbagonians of Chinese descent have all become the subject of derogatory comments, racial slurs, harassment, intimidation, racial isolation, intolerance and bias as a result.
"The fact is that the vast majority of Chinese nationals and Trinbagonians of Chinese descent are totally revulsed by the idea of consuming dog meat," the statement, endorsed by The China Society Zhong Shan Association, Toi Shan Association, Sun Wai Association Fu Tong On Association, Chinese Association in St Ann's, The China Merchant Association and The Chinese Art and Culture Studies Society, categorically stated.
"We have not done anything to harm the people of Trinidad and Tobago," it added.
Khan has admitted his statement may have been irresponsible and said he had instructed his communication department to issue an apology.
However, the Chinese Society said: "On the streets, in business places, in person, on the phone and on the social media, we are constantly being singled out and harassed.
"As adults we find these grossly unfair insults hard to bear but we are even more terrified of the potential for it to degenerate further into worse attacks on our weaker family members, particularly on our children, who will be subject to direct bullying and ridicule when they start school in September."
The society reminded that the Chinese people have integrated and co-existed in harmony in this country for over 209 years and have a proven track record as progressive, quiet and peace-loving people,
"Our businesses, including restaurants, employ thousands of local labour and support many local suppliers. Socially, culturally and economically, we are an integral part of the Trinidadian fabric. We have always tried to give back and support the country that we love. It is our home too."
Speaking about its effort to engender greater co-operation between the people of China and T&T, the society referred to the three teams of specialist Chinese surgeons, including neurologists and cardiologists, who are providing the country with skills not readily available locally.
The Chinese Associations have assisted many local institutions and it also established The Confucius Institute to teach the Chinese language and culture to foster greater understanding and peace. It also teaches Mandarin at schools for free.
The society said: " It is most unfortunate that after so many years of silence we of Chinese extract find ourselves having to raise our voices and call on the minister to retract his unfounded statements for the harm it has caused."