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Chinese American organization calls for CNN's sincere apology for insulting remarks
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17:20, April 17, 2008

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A Chinese American organization Wednesday urged U.S. TV network CNN to sincerely apologize for one of its political commentator's insulting remarks about Chinese.

The Washington-based World Chinese League said in a statement that all Chinese-Americans and Chinese were infuriated by Jack Cafferty's outrageous comments aired on April 9 when Beijing Olympics torch relay was held in San Francisco, California.

The league also called on all Chinese worldwide to participate in the "one person one protest letter" campaign to press the TV network to address the issue in an appropriate way, including taking back the anti-Chinese remarks, making a sincere apology and removing Cafferty.

Cafferty said in "The Situation Room" program on last Thursday that the United States continues to import Chinese-made "junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food..."

"I think they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years," he said, apparently referring to the Chinese people.

In a statement released Monday, Cafferty claimed his "goons and thugs" comment referred to "the Chinese government and not to Chinese people or Chinese-Americans."

His employer responded on Tuesday by saying "it was not Mr. Cafferty's nor CNN's intent to cause offense to the Chinese people, and would apologize to anyone who has interpreted the comments in this way."

The TV network also claimed that it reports news "in an objective and balanced fashion," and also employs commentators "who provide robust opinions that generate debate."

The Chinese Foreign Ministry lodged a strong protest with the Beijing office of Cable News Network (CNN) on Wednesday evening, condemning the network as "without any professional reputation".

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao, who is also the Director-General of the Ministry's Information Department, said that a statement issued by CNN on Tuesday failed to apologize for Cafferty's remarks, which maliciously attacked the Chinese people and seriously violated the professional ethics of journalism.

"CNN's ulterior motive to target the Chinese government and continue to mislead public opinion as well as deceive the Chinese people will never succeed", Liu said in a written statement issued late on Wednesday.

A saying, "Don't be too CNN," has also become popular among Chinese netizens as hundreds of thousands of them have signed an online petition to urge CNN to observe the journalistic ethics and fire Cafferty, who still appeared in the program on Wednesday afternoon.

On CNN's defense that Cafferty has over years criticized many governments including the U.S. government and its leaders, Huang Jieping, Chairman of the World Chinese League who immigrated from Taiwan decades ago, said such baseless and malicious remarks are unacceptable for any people or government, no matter Chinese or American.

He also said the Cafferty issue was, actually, a fuse leading to the outbreak of the Chinese people's strong discontentment against Western media's unbalanced and distorted coverage of Tibet riots since middle March.

Cafferty, born in 1942, joined CNN's "The Situation Room" program in the summer of 2005.

According to a New York Times report, Cafferty was convicted of reckless driving, assault and harassment in 2003 for hitting a bicyclist in New York with his Cadillac and leaving the scene. He was then sentenced to a 250-U.S.-dollar fine and 70 hours of community service.

"The hit-and-run is considered a very immoral deed in the United States," Huang said of the incident. "I can not believe CNN hires such a person to comment on politics."


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