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CCTV host may sue after claims of xenophobia

By Zheng Xin (China Daily)

16:40, May 21, 2012

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.


Leave your comment5 comments

  1. Name

Denise Xu at 2012-05-2238.99.169.*
Rui Yang has hurt China with his comments. The foreigners I know are very worried about what he said and my company is having difficult times recruiting the new foreigners. This story is everywhere in the world. I think he needs to apologize. ALSO? Can the Al-Jazeera news woman SUE HIM? If someone called me that name 洋泼妇 I would want to sue him.China has many great things and many great people. I want the news to start showing more of these things and not so the much of pretending to be real journalists like Yang. People's Daily has many good reporters because they report. If you are telling people to hate, you are not reporting, I do not think.
wende at 2012-05-2271.255.93.*
Actually all illegal immigrants should be rounded up and deported. Also, all criminals, foreigners or local, are to be prosecuted, sentenced and then the foreigners should be deported as they do not fit to stay in China. I thought the host said 'some foreigners' and I do not believe that is a hateful statement. Custer is out of order!
Observer at 2012-05-22203.177.74.*
Definitely a xenophob. Pass it on....
PD User at 2012-05-2250.128.151.*
Yang Rui is one of the world's great tv interviewers. I've enjoyed Dialogue for awhile now and I'm constantly telling others about how he is a breath of fresh air. I wish not only China but the US had more interviewers with his courage and skillful insights. If CCTV got rid of him that would be a tragedy for both China and real global journalism. Yang Rui was simply speaking truth...oh, by the way, I'm African American and live in the US.
thomas at 2012-05-21202.89.190.*
i see nothing racist about the remarks Yang said (some foreigners) if you cant hander that remark grow up and toughen up custer

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