Dr Who Manchu

John Bennett
John Bennett

The Dr Who episodes entitled ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang’ (Starring Tom Baker as Dr Who), was originally aired during early 1977, and receives regular repeating throughout the world on satellite and cable TV. In 2008, the British rightwing (and notoriously racist) newspaper – The Daily Telegraph – voted this particular series as one of the best Dr Who stories ever made. This is not surprising as it manages to encapsulate fully the negative British attitudes towards the Chinese people, and serves as an exact record of Eurocentric racism. Whilst white Europeans attempt to downplay and negate the anti-Chinese racism, the racism itself can be easily codified:

1) A white English actor – John Bennett – plays the lead ‘Chinese’ role of the maniacal character ‘Li H’sen Chang’.

2) Throughout the six part serial, very few of the other Chinese characters are listed in the end credits of the show. In the first episode, for instance, out of the 5 apparently real Chinese characters that appear on screen, only two are listed in the end credits – the character ‘Lee’ played by John Then, and the ‘Coolie’ character played by John Wu.

3) The word ‘Chink’ is mentioned by a character named ‘Professor Litefoot’ who had apparently spent time living in China.

4) All the (male) Chinese characters are negative and the product of blatant racial stereotyping that portrays Chinese people (and Chinese culture) as inherently inferior, frighteningly heathen, innately duplicitous, and the product of an evil – Judeo-Christian – devil.

5) The massage that all migrants into the British Isles are ‘criminals’ waiting to pounce on innocent (white) Britons is clear and unambiguous.

6) The Chinese people (and Chinese culture) are depicted as childish and yet dangerous.

7) It is assumed that no Chinese people can speak English, and obvious that no (white) English character can speak the Chinese language – although the non-human Timelord is seen in one seen attempting to speak very basic Putonghua (referred to in the script as ‘Mandarin’).

8) The Chinese people are depicted as ‘unfeeling’ and lacking basic human characteristics. This stems from the British Christian missionaries in China who taught that Chinese culture was an agency for the devil’s work, and consequently possesses no value as a civilised society.

9) The Chinese people are either non-responsive (to Eurocentric sentiment) or excessively violent in reaction.

10) With regard to this Dr Who storyline – Chinese women do not exist.

John Bennett, of course, is playing an Englishman’s imagination of a vague, gargoyle-like entity conveniently termed a ‘Chinese’ person – or ‘Celestial’ as one character refers to the Chinese people. This continues the ‘yellow peril’ racism from the USA (personified by the hideous ‘Fu Manchu’ and ‘Ming the Merciless’ characters of stage and screen) which was aimed at the Japanese up to and including WWII, but which was later turned on China following the Communist Revolution of 1949. The British racism aimed at the Chinese people has always had a Judeo-Christian basis and seeks to deny and destroy the Chinese culture and build a Christian Church upon its ashes.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

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