The China Youth Daily apologised Tuesday afternoon and edited an article roundly criticised by netizens for being ‘ass-kissing’ and offensive.
The article, “Flowers Wither in San Francisco,” commemorates Wang Linjia and Ye Mengyuan, the two teenage victims of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash on Sunday. After fairly standard boilerplate about the crash itself, the paper attempts to live up to its name as the “official newspaper of Communist Youth League” with the following paragraph:
If [the victims] were alive and knew that Cai Qi, Head of Zhejiang Province’s Organization Department were concerned about them, Wang Linjia might widen her eyes in ecstasy and Ye Mengyuan might jump in great surprise.
The article quickly became the most read piece on the paper’s official website. Lu Ye, a professor at Fudan University’s School of Journalism, said on Weibo that she was “shocked” at the language, calling it “not only an ethical issue in journalism but also an issue of one’s basic moral principles.” Her post has been shared more than 12,000 times.
Several editors and reporters for the paper spoke up online as well. Cao Lin, a senior editor at China Youth Daily, apologised on his personal Weibo and urged reporters to “practice restraint when using imagination and figurative language.”
China Youth Daily apologised Tuesday afternoon on Weibo for “inappropriate language” and retracted the controversial paragraph in the online version.
[Image: Mourners light candles in Jiangshan for Wang Linjia and Ye Mengyuan, who died in the Asiana Airlines crash, Credit: Xinhua]