Would anybody like to take a stab at what Yang Rui (杨锐), anchor of CCTV International’s Dialogue, was on when he tweeted out the following on his Weibo?
“The Public Security Bureau wants to clean out the foreign trash: To arrest foreign thugs and protect innocent girls, they need to concentrate on the disaster zones in [student district] Wudaokou and [drinking district] Sanlitun. Cut off the foreign snake heads. People who can’t find jobs in the U.S. and Europe come to China to grab our money, engage in human trafficking and spread deceitful lies to encourage emigration. Foreign spies seek out Chinese girls to mask their espionage and pretend to be tourists while compiling maps and GPS data for Japan, Korea and the West. We kicked out that foreign bitch and closed Al-Jazeera’s Beijing bureau. We should shut up those who demonize China and send them packing.” [Translation by WSJ]
We’ll refrain from comment for now because everything we want to say has already been said by someone else.
To get us started, Charlie Custer of ChinaGeeks has a great selection of responses by Weibo users, which by the way were overwhelmingly negative (although we did spot a few pricks egging him on):
Host Yang, you haven’t gone far enough! We should bring back all the officials’ wives and children from overseas to help build the motherland, we must not allow them to be polluted by foreign trash, yes, and also we should close the borders/forbid international travel, so that there is no contact with overseas forces.
There is a reason fewer and fewer people are watching TV…
Yes, and we should close down all the TV channels that speak foreign languages! [Yang works for CCTV English]
At first I thought that it was just Mr. Yang’s English [abilities] that were disappointing, but now I see there are many disappointing things about him.
The fact that this CCTV host isn’t writing editorials for the Beijing Daily is truly a waste of talent.
Isn’t your daughter studying in the US?
Haha, so Yang Rui is really this big a dumbass. A dumbass pretending to be cool but actually a Boxer.
So this is the quality of CCTV? Anyway, where did you study your English? Do the people there think about you this way?
I want to ask, can you speak Chinese? How can someone so incoherent become a TV host…
This is exactly how the Boxer Rebellion started…
Josh Chin of WSJ has a few more gems:
“This is how the Boxer Rebellion started,” wrote one Sina Weibo user posting under the handle Xingyue, referencing the turn-of-the-century nationalist uprising that saw thousands of foreigners murdered and ultimately resulted in the invasion of northern China by foreign armies.
“Melissa Chan was a correspondent who did her job to the fullest,” responded a user with the screen name Jiong Nasen, one of many who expressed a preference for al-Jazeera over CCTV. “You at your best are a handheld microphone. The one we should kick out of China is you.”
While we’re at it, here’s a few Twitterati expressing mock concern for the future sustainability of Yang Rui’s show (and disbelief at the batshit that he just vomitted):
— Michael Anti (@mranti) May 18, 2012
Journalist Michael Anti: “After insulting laowai’s like that, can Yang Rui expect to have any more foreigners on his talkshow in the future? Am I right to say this was a total face palm moment?”
how can any self-respecting foreigner now appear on Yang Rui’s CCTV show? how can you be sure you will not be walking into a 鸿门宴?
— Bill Bishop (@niubi) May 18, 2012
@chinahearsay Can’t wait for the next time they call. He never seemed like a dick off camera; actually reasonable. Could this be satire?
— Kaiser Kuo (@KaiserKuo) May 18, 2012
And, to close, a few sensible words — as always — from Eric Fish of Sinostand:
Trying to consolidate political support by taking a hard-line on foreigners in the country is hardly unique to China. It works the same almost everywhere. Foreigners make a perfect “them” to unite “us” against. They can be scapegoated and harassed without political liability because they’re too few, too vulnerable and, well, too foreign to defend themselves. In China, this tactic is a matter of survival for the authoritarian government.
These recent cases shining the spotlight on bad foreigners aren’t necessarily direct examples of this tactic though. After all, it was common citizens who first disseminated the British pervert and the Russian cellist stories. But both cases raise the “did the chicken or the egg come first” dilemma. Why did netizens frame the stories as a “bad foreigner attacking good Chinese” in the first place?
The subsequent actions by players like Baidu, Beijing Morning Post and Yang Rui showed that they have every intention of making sure this cycle continues. They perpetuate the implicit anti-foreign angle, thereby assuring future incidents will continue to be framed as “peaceful Chinese vs. arrogant imperialistic foreigners.” That’s pretty good for creating very shallow Chinese unity and government support, but pretty awful for humanity.
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