Canadian developers cancel ‘Dirty Chinese Restaurant’ game – China’s latest society and culture news

Society & Culture

A summary of the top news in Chinese society and culture for October 6, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

Couple in love holding hands together on table in restaurant, close up

“To be fair, many Chinese restaurants are really dirty. What this game illustrates is at least partly true.”


“These developers should have realized sooner that being racist toward China won’t do you any good. And for those Chinese who sugarcoat the game’s blatant racism, they are traitors to the country.”


Big-O-Tree (a pun on bigotry — get it?), a Canada-based computer game company, has canceled the scheduled release of its mobile game Dirty Chinese Restaurant after it was widely denounced as racist. Big-O-Tree is the latest culprit under fire (in Chinese) for racism against Chinese people, following model Gigi Hadid, who was slammed by Chinese internet users in June for an offensive gesture, and Chelsea Football Club, which was boycotted in July because its player Robert Kenedy made insulting posts on social media.

The Dirty Chinese Restaurant game, first announced in 2016, attracted online fury last week when Big-O-Tree released a trailer, which included various ugly stereotypes about Chinese restaurants: The game centers on a restaurateur named Wong Fu, who get points for the player by chasing dogs and cats, digging in trash cans to supply ingredients, evading taxes, and avoiding immigration officers.

The game initially caught the attention of a group of Canadian activists and politicians, as well as United States House representative from New York Grace Meng, who wrote a tirade against the game on her Facebook page. “This game uses every negative and demeaning stereotype that I have ever come across as a Chinese American,” she noted. However, Big-O-Tree, at that time, defended the game, labeling it as “mainly satire and comedy” that is deeply influenced by a list of “classic politically incorrect shows” such as South Park, The Simpsons, and Chappelle’s Show.

But as the controversy reached a point where the Chinese Consulate General in Toronto published a statement demanding that Big-O-Tree “immediately stop developing and selling the game, remove it from the internet, and make a formal apology publicly,” the company changed its tone.

“We would like to make a sincere and formal apology to the Chinese community and wish to assure them that this game was not created with an intentional interest of inflicting harm or malice against Chinese culture,” Big-O-Tree apologized on its homepage, adding that the release has been canceled and all marketing materials from the game will be removed from social media.