A CABINET minister is embroiled in a race row after she shared a picture of a Chinese fortune cookie as a coronavirus test kit.
International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been slammed by MPs after she sent the meme to Conservative colleagues on WhatsApp.
Ms Trevelyan sent the picture to a group that was discussing whether China is exploiting the coronavirus pandemic.
The MP who leaked the message told the Mirror: “This should cost the minister her job. It’s an appalling example of old-fashioned stereotypes.”
The meme shows a split fortune cookie that says inside: “You do not have coronavirus”.
It is captioned: “Just received my Covid-19 rapid test kit from China! Soooooo relieved!”
It adds: “Thanks beijing!”
The International Development Secretary – who controls the UK’s £14bn foreign aid budget – wrote alongside the picture: “Just for Bob”.
The message was addressed to Bob Seely, an MP campaigning against Chinese tech giant Huawei supplying the UK’s 5G network.
He replied with a love heart and a smiley face.
He later said: “It was a well-meaning joke at my expense and I didn’t think anything of it.”
Labour MP Sarah Owen, the first British Chinese female MP, said it was “totally inappropriate”.
She said: “If Anne-Marie Trevelyan doesn’t understand why this sort of humour was left in the 1970s, I would be happy to explain it to her”.
Ms Trevelyan and No10 refused to comment on the incident.
It follows a recent spike in racist attacks on Asian people over the coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier this month, British actor Jason Wong claimed he was racially discriminated against and told “you’re Chinese, stand away from me” as he stood in a London newsagent.
Mr Wong, who starred in Guy Ritchie film The Gentleman, said a middle-aged man confronted him and asked: “Are you Chinese?”
In March, two teens were arrested for battering a student in London, leaving him with a bruised face and black eye.
Jonathan Mok, who has an English dad and a Chinese mum, was targeted by yobs as he walked through Oxford Street.
UCL student Jonathan, who had lived in London for two ears, stood up to the gang after they shouted: “I don’t want your coronavirus in my country”.
The teenagers then launched into a frenzied attack, punching and kicking him.
He later wrote on Facebook: “To the group of guys who saw fit to attack me because of my skin colour: here’s something for you; I stood up to you because I wasn’t afraid, I’ve faced far more intimidating characters in my life.”
Mrs Trevelyan has been approached for comment.
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