Brazil's Education Minister Denies Discriminating against Asians in Pandemic Social Media Post

Abraham Weintraub tells PF he used humor in criticizing China on social media

In a written statement delivered to the Federal Police on Thursday (4), Abraham Weintraub, Brazil's Minister of Education, maintained his comments about China that led him to respond to an inquiry in the Supreme Federal Court for racism.

Weintraub told the Federal Police that he did not treat the Chinese with discrimination when he satirized the accent of Asians living in Brazil to insinuate that the eastern country will emerge stronger from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

He said he was offended that he was being investigated for racism and justified that the "method addressed" in the publication on social networks that gave rise to the investigation "included elements of humor".

Brazil's Education Minister Abraham Weintraub (Foto: Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress, PODER) - Folhapress

The minister also claimed that his statement is protected by freedom of expression. He stressed that "there is robust evidence that the virus was created in a laboratory and that the Chinese Communist Party hid the beginning of the pandemic and informed the World Health Organization that there was no contagion between humans."

Weintraub went to the police headquarters to testify in the inquiry opened at the request of the Attorney General's Office.

The solicitor's request came after Weintraub published the cover of a comic book with the Chinese flag on Twitter and posted a message by changing the letter "R" to "L".

The change in the lyrics ridicules the accent of many Asians when speaking Portuguese. Weintraub deleted the publication, which also suggested that China could gain from the Covid-19 crisis.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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