Xie Ronghua, a mild-mannered Chinese American of about 60, was utterly riled by a CNN news commentator's remarks that the Chinese are a "bunch of goons and thugs."
The usually easygoing Xie took to the streets of New York Monday to join some 200 Chinese protesters in expressing rage and indignation over the derogatory remarks of Jack Cafferty, who also described Chinese goods as "junk" and pet food imported from China as "poisonous."
"I was undoubtedly offended by his remarks," Xie said. "We Chinese must express our indignation over Cafferty's remarks and demand his dismissal."
"If CNN does not fire him, we will continue our protests until he is finally sacked, as we want to send a clear signal to the world that no one is allowed to insult or smear the Chinese at will," he added.
Shouting "Shame on you, CNN," "CNN must fire Cafferty," "Long live China" and other slogans, and waving both the Chinese and American national flags, the protesters kept circling Time Warner Center, where CNN's studios are located.
"CNN brought infamy on cable news journalism when Jack Cafferty used the lowest racial slurs to smear the Chinese, a great people with one of the oldest civilizations," said George Qiao, reading a statement on behalf of the New York Association for Peaceful Unification of China (NYAPUC).
Speaking in front of the CNN building, with a crowd of protesters and onlookers as his audience, Qiao, who is an advisor to the NYAPUC and chairman of the U.S.-China Council of Commerce, said: "Even though Cafferty is known to have an irresponsible loose tongue, that he could stoop so low as to use the crudest calumny is truly shocking."
"He blatantly violated a journalist's professional ethics," he added. "And he has hurt the feelings of the entire Chinese people... the heart of the matter is his gut hatred for the Chinese."
Faced with "inescapable" responsibilities, CNN may have apologized, "but it was not even a half-hearted apology," Qiao read from the statement.
CNN's reporting on China, and especially its recent coverage of Tibet and the Beijing Olympics, is "biased and full of distortion," which includes tampering with photographs and calling Tibet a country "by mistake," in flagrant violation of journalistic ethics, the statement read.
"We demand that CNN offer a genuine apology and fire Jack Cafferty," it continued.
A young Chinese woman with a toddler in tow had braved the chilly spring wind to join the protesters.
"Although I differ in many ways with my American husband, we respect each other," the woman, originally from northeastern China, told reporters.
"All peoples, no matter whether they are white, black or yellow, from the East or the West, Christians, Muslims or Buddhists, whatever their cultural backgrounds, should respect each other and seek mutual understanding through peaceful co-existence," she said.
"What surprised me was that CNN's news commentator could have made such grossly offensive remarks about the Chinese people," she said.
Michael Chu, a Taiwan-born Chinese and president of Asian American News, said it was true that CNN criticized U.S. government policies a lot, but this time its man was using "insulting" words to smear a great nation, similar to "shouting abuses in the street", which is absolutely unacceptable.
"Criticism is one thing and a wanton attack is something else altogether," he said.
"It was a fairly serious incident," Chu said, demanding that CNN formally apologize and fire Jack Cafferty. "Otherwise, we reserve the right to sue him."
While the protesters were orbiting the sidewalks adjacent to Time Warner Center, 14 minibuses, with huge banners posted on their sides demanding the dismissal of Jack Cafferty and a formal apology from CNN, circled the streets around the building, attracting a lot of attention.
Many onlookers and media persons photographed the angry protesters who also carried Olympic banners and anti-CNN posters, and shouted slogans in both Chinese and English.
"We want justice!"
"We strongly support the Beijing Olympics!"
The peaceful protest lasted about an hour. The demonstrators posted a copy of their statement on the gate of the CNN building before dispersing.