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Yang Rui was insensitive, but shouldn't be sacked
Global Times | May 23, 2012 00:40
By Shan Renping
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Yang Rui, the well-known host of Dialogue, an English-language CCTV program. Photo:


A post put on his Sina Weibo account last Wednesday by Yang Rui, the well-known host of Dialogue, an English-language CCTV program, has caused great controversy.

Yang wrote that the Public Security Bureau must clean up foreign trash, arrest foreign thugs, expose foreign spies, and single out foreign shrews and those demonizing China. An American in China later also posted on Weibo, demanding that CCTV fire Yang. A minority of foreigners in China and some Western media such as the Wall Street Journal supported the demand.

We think Yang's wording was too harsh. He only stressed the problems of illegal immigrants in China without mentioning the contributions other foreigners have made to the country. He slammed many foreigners, which made it a media sensation and led to misunderstanding among foreigners.

As the host of an English-language program, Yang is expected to be more cautious in posting his online messages when presenting his views concerning foreigners in China and avoid expressing them too harshly.

It's understandable that some foreigners have asked CCTV to dismiss Yang. We don't support such a request as it is also harsh and sensationalist. Those who made the request seemed to vent their anger at the Beijing authorities' crackdown on expatriate criminals onto a single person.

Yang posted the message on his personal Weibo account instead of speaking out on his program. It expressed his personal view and feelings and had nothing to do with his job. Currently, Sino Weibo is where the greatest diversity of opinions have been expressed. The way many public figures speak there differs from the way people expect them to. Some writers and scholars often express their views with harsh and abusive words, which happens nowhere else but on Weibo. Yang's controversial message should be perceived against this background. We believe that Yang did not expect his posting to have caused such big waves.

We reiterate that we don't think Yang was right in posting the message as it was, but we think the demand for his dismissal is harsher than his message. CNN host Jack Cafferty made remarks in a TV show in April 2008 that the Chinese people are "basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years." However, CNN didn't dismiss him because of his vile words.

It is hoped that Yang posts his comments with more caution. Other public figures should not behave harshly either. The Beijing authorities' crackdown on illegal immigrants has nothing to do with anti-foreign sentiments. The Chinese public generally holds a kind and friendly view toward foreigners. The authorities' measures are aimed at strengthening social management and will not damage the legal interests of foreigners in China. The anti-foreigner campaigns seen in some Western countries will not be staged in China.


Global Times Report

CCTV host Yang Rui responds to online uproar

The sensational nature of the empowered new media means that some isolated events can trigger strong public reactions. After looking at these incidents, I termed these expats "foreign trash" and I believe they should be brought to justice if they are found to have violated our laws.

State TV Host Offers Advice on How to Throw Out 'Foreign Trash'

With a surge of anti-foreigner bile rising in Beijing, one might expect a prominent Chinese TV personality whose job it is to interview foreigners to weigh in with a few calming words.

Custer's latest stand reveals sensitivity

Is anti-foreign fever returning to China?

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