Host may sue after claims of xenophobia
Updated: 2012-05-21 07:30
By Zheng Xin (China Daily)
This undated file photo shows Yang Rui hosting a program.[Source: http://cctv.cntv.cn/]
A Chinese broadcaster said on Sunday he is considering suing a blogger who accused him of being a xenophobe for comments he made on Sina Weibo.
Yang Rui, who hosts Dialogue, an English-language show on CCTV News, said Charlie Custer, editor of China Geeks, had "damaged his reputation".
He is consulting friends about filing a lawsuit, he said.
The row stems from a Sina Weibo micro blog post by Yang on Friday, in which he referred to some foreigners in China as "trash", "spies" and "traffickers ... who can't find jobs in the United States and Europe that come to China to take money, engage themselves in human trafficking and illegal immigration".
He ends by urging authorities to "kick out those who demonize China".
In response, Custer, a blogger from the US who is fluent in Mandarin, launched an online campaign calling for the Dialogue host to be fired.
"These vicious lies do not represent the vast majority of foreign citizens in China. It is extremely insulting that an anchor on CCTV Dialogue, a show that is meant to be about intercultural exchange, would propagate such racist, hateful speech," Custer wrote on Sina Weibo.
"We request that CCTV terminate Yang Rui's contract immediately and condemn his prejudiced and inaccurate (Sina) Weibo post."
As of Sunday night, the post had been forwarded 3,600 times.
Custer declined to comment when contacted by China Daily.
"His remarks are nothing but libel against a sincere and conscientious host who has been devoted to international cultural exchanges for 13 years," Yang said in a telephone interview.
He said his original post was in response to several recent cases in which foreigners assaulted Chinese, as well as the Beijing public security bureau's campaign launched on May 15 aimed at curbing the illegal entry, residence and employment of foreigners in Beijing.
"It's necessary that foreigners remember they need to abide by local customs and laws when they are in China," the TV host said, although he added that his post did not refer to any individual or group, and that the wording may have been misunderstood by some people.
"I stick to my opinion, even if my wording is harsh," Yang said.
A publicity officer for CCTV, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the company is unlikely to make an official statement on an employee's personal behavior.
"Yang is a very experienced and senior host, and the opinions he expressed on his Sina Weibo account were his own," she said.
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