The level of harassment and threats foreign journalists based in China are facing today is worse than ever, some are saying, following the expulsion of a reporter from Qatar-based TV network Al-Jazeera and comments by a top TV show host that exposed an alarming xenophobic streak within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In a message posted on the popular China-based microblog Sina Weibo last week, Yang Rui (楊銳), host of the popular show Dialogue, which is aired on state-owned China Central Television (CCTV), shared his views on how China should rid itself of “foreign trash,” a reference to a recent campaign launched by the Public Security Bureau that targets foreigners who work illegally in the country.
“Cut off the foreign snake heads. People who can’t find jobs in the US and Europe come to China to grab our money, engage in human trafficking and spread deceitful lies to encourage emigration,” he wrote in Chinese. “Foreign spies seek out Chinese girls to mask their espionage and pretend to be tourists, while compiling maps and GPS data for Japan, [South] Korea and the West.”
Yang then commented on the expulsion of Melissa Chan, Beijing bureau chief for the English-language service of Arabic broadcaster Al-Jazeera, who was forced to leave China after the state refused to renew her visa over its anger at some critical reports made by the news organization.
“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,” wrote Yang, a fluent English speaker who often invites foreign guests on his show.
While his remarks were derided by some Chinese netizens, foreign reporters who operate in China regarded the incident as a sign of deterioration in their working environments.
They said that unlike privately owned media, CCTV was an apparatus of the state and that the failure of its management to force Yang to apologize or to punish him for his comments signified Beijing condoned his behavior. Had a host on a state-owned program in the West made similar remarks against a female reporter, he or she would surely have been reprimanded, some said, adding that it made no sense to judge CCTV by different standards.
Following his derogatory remarks targeting Chan, Yang turned his sights on another foreigner — Charlie Custer, author of the popular ChinaGeeks blog — for accusing Yang of xenophobia.
“Custer seriously damaged my reputation and I retain the right to sue him. This affair is entirely the result of his malicious speculation and he is inciting racial hatred. I can see his eyes are filled with anti-Chinese hatred,” he wrote on Sina Weibo, in comments that have since been removed.
Foreign reporters based in China, who refused to be named for this article, were divided on Yang’s influence, referring to him as a “complex” character and a nationalist who cared deeply about China while being aware of the challenges it faces. However, most agreed that the situation in China was getting worse for foreign reporters and some said it was reminiscent of fascism in Europe, saying also that the situation had become the worst they had seen since they began reporting there.
All agreed that Yang should be reprimanded for his attack on Chan and that failure to do so would severely damage China’s soft power and only invite more of the “negative” reporting Beijing often complains about.
A debt dispute between a restaurant owner and a criminal ring might be behind a bizarre cockroach attack at the Taipei eatery on Monday night while it was hosting a police gathering, Taipei Police Commissioner Chen Jia-chang (陳嘉昌) said yesterday. Preliminary findings of a police investigation into the case at the G House Taipei suggest that the unusual incident might have been directed at the restaurant’s owner, who allegedly owes money to the Bamboo Union, Chen said. The suspects were Bamboo Union members and there was no evidence indicating that the cockroaches were targeted at the police officers at the restaurant, he
Taiwan’s armed forces should closely monitor China’s development of a new tanker aircraft, as it would significantly boost the Chinese air force’s capability to carry out long-range raids, a military expert said on Wednesday. Ou Si-fu (歐錫富), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said in an online article that China is developing a tanker variant of its Y-20 military transport aircraft, known as the Y-20U. The Y-20 has a maximum take-off weight of 220 tonnes and the tanker variant is expected to carry up to 60 tonnes of fuel, more than three times the maximum
TRAVELING WHILE CONTAGIOUS: The highest risk of infection is indoors, especially in settings where people take off their masks to eat and drink, an expert warned The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday posted a list of places visited by people who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 while they were likely contagious, urging people who visited the sites at the same time to practice self-health management. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that confirmed case No. 1,129 — a woman in her 60s who works at Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, a designated quarantine facility, and tested positive on Friday — visited Chiayi between Friday last week and Monday. On the first day of her trip, she visited the Big Chiayi
QUARANTINE BLUNDER: The government should be responsible for a cluster infection at a hotel, as the cases have caused panic, DPP Legislator Chen Ming-wen said The Ministry of Transportation and Communications should make it mandatory for pilots and flight attendants, as well as their family members, to be vaccinated in view of a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, lawmakers said at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday. The cluster infection at the hotel had led to 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, including hotel workers, as well as China Airlines flight and cabin crew, and their family members. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday tightened quarantine requirements for pilots and flight attendants, who must quarantine