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A Letter from a Chinese Anchor to Mr. Jack Cafferty
By XU Haoran | 17 April 2008 | blog.sina.com.cn


Letter from a Chinese Anchor to Mr. Jack Cafferty

Xu Haoran  2008-04-17


Dear Mr. Cafferty,

The reason why I still call you Mr. Cafferty at such a sensitive time is because I respect what you are engaged in. However, I want to express my indescribable indignation as a Chinese and as a Chinese anchor at your discriminative remarks on the Chinese government and the Chinese people. Though my career life may not be as long as yours, yet I'm very proud of my career choice which enables me to witness the process of what is taking place today turning into history tomorrow.  Ever since I started my university life in the Communication University of China in the 1980s, I deeply understand what the professional ethics of truth, rationality, objectiveness and justification mean to a professional reporter. These ethics not only serve as the foundation of our professional guidelines but even as the basic bottom line for our survival.  For the key anchors or commentators in the TV news programs, these ethics are even more indispensable and critical. I have been serving as an anchor in the live news for about 16 years and ever worked for three state-level satellite TV stations of China since I graduated from the university. Thanks to my strong belief in the sacred responsibilities of a news reporter, I work with my colleagues to successfully open a series of news programs such as "Top Ten News in China" and "Special Column for Chinese News" and so on. Unfortunately, in the 21st century, we unexpectedly caught such noises on an American news network which has been enjoying the fame of press freedom and which has ever been admired by us. What surprises us most is your boss even allows you to slander the people of another country and bloviate in front of the camera. Just as spokesman Liu Jianchao of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, news reporters have no privileges to smear and slander people of another country or another government. What CNN has been doing recently goes fully against its claimed reporting principles which are based on objectiveness and balance. What CNN has been doing, in my eyes, even loses codes of ethics. I believe any Chinese will seriously ask CNN and Mr. Cafferty to take your discriminative words back and sincerely apologize to all the Chinese people.

Mr. Cafferty, probably you still choose to turn a deaf ear to the indignation voiced by all the Chinese people and the solemn and just position taken by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs by keeping doing what you are doing now. I have noticed that you didn't make any apologies so far. As to CNN which you work for, the statement on the CNN website on April 15th not only failed to make apologies to the Chinese people because of your vicious verbal attacks which strongly violated professional ethics of press but defend your discriminative remarks and turn against the Chinese government, saying your remarks are against the Chinese government rather than the Chinese people…  As the old Chinese saying goes, one should not be afraid of committing mistakes but of not correcting them and add insult to injury. What you and CNN have committed is such a huge and unforgivable mistake. Let's review your comments on TV---- "I think they are basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years." What mean words! I can hardly see any clues how you climbed to this position of CNN and rely on what evidences you can ever draw such an "amazing" conclusion. Have you ever thought about the feelings and sentiments any country in the world or people of that country may have when hearing such comments? I want to argue with you on this topic: Do you think it makes sense that the fastest growing economy in the world is created by a bunch of "goons and thugs"? Do you think that the U.S government has been dealing with a bunch of "goons and thugs"? Do you think it possible for the international community to ask a bunch of "goons and thugs" to host such an important international event-Olympic Games? I'm even confused about your amazing conclusion of "I think they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years". Have you even witnessed what changes have taken place in China over the past 50 years? Have you ever witnessed what changes have taken place on the Chinese people over the past 50 years? Have you ever heard of the Chinese idiom as lying through your teeth?

Mr. Cafferty, you also said that "We're in hock to the Chinese up to our eyeballs because of the war in Iraq, for one thing."  That is to say in Chinese that you pawned yourself off to China. I'm wondering why you vituperated your "owner" by pawning yourself.  It makes sense that you should thank "him". Otherwise, for what reasons you want to pawn everything you have off to "him" ? In the defense, I seemed to hear that your defender said you often criticized U.S government in the past, which means even if you say something radical, it is understandable. I'm not sure if you have ever described U.S government or Americans as "a bunch of goons and thugs". With no doubt, as a nation with the largest population, complex national situation and rapid growth, it will inevitably come across issues in this form or that during its development process. However, you don't have to ring the alarm bell to us because China has already been aware of our human rights status, environmental pollution and food security as well as other issues associated with the sustainable development. What China has been doing is to make our unremitting efforts to make appropriated changes and adjustments. Every Chinese can experience those changes and adjustments that have been taking place.  As a matter of fact, the Chinese people not only enjoy the lofty virtues depicted in a Chinese idiom as the great ocean is able to accommodate hundreds of rivers while the great man is able to accommodate thousands of different views but also understand modesty leads to greater progress. We welcome friendly criticism and constructive suggestions from anybody or any organization, but we Chinese will never allow any country or any people to viciously label us, even using insulting imputations. This is not a question of whether we have to tolerate, but a question of whether we need dignity.

Mr. Cafferty, I don't know if you have ever been to China before or how many times you have been to China and how long you have been in China. I'm sorry to tell you that Chinese learn much more about the western world including U.S than what you have learned about us. Or I should say we learn more truths about the western world than you do about us. For instance, I visited U.S in 1998 at the invitation of U.S. Information Agency to interview professionals in the industry and visited U.S. press community during that trip. I really don't know how you get all these bias and stereotypes about China. From what you read or heard from the Western Media? Or you heard from someone else? I'm not sure if you have ever delivered such surprising words before. I can only get some indications from the video of your program that you must be a veteran who knows what words will cater to the needs of your fans from your calm facial expression when insulting the Chinese. I'm convinced that you must have a large number of loyal fans who know little about China or have been holding bias towards China, particularly after recent bombarded distorted reports by the western world on Tibet riots taking place in China. I believe they will not comb their thoughts or repent any hurt or trauma on Chinese arisen from the misleading reports but love you even more because your discriminative comments which pour oil on the flame take a revenge on China on behalf of them. So you get what you want: growing popularity among a certain portion of people. I believe your comments even helped CNN earn a rather high click-through rate. Meanwhile, anti-Chinese forces are delighted to find another spokesman in an unfavorable overseas anti-China press environment. Well, I've got to say: Congratulations!!! However, unfortunately, you are only playing a repeated role of anther loudspeaker which demonizes China. In this regard, I have to warn you in advance that all the so-called human rights guardians who like to point their fingers to China's prosperity or oppose China on any occasion will ultimately end in a tragic ending. The 21st century is doomed to be the century of our Chinese no matter you like it or not, recognize it or not. If you don't believe what I say, let's wait and see. The year of 2008 is also doomed to be a year of China. Even if China would not host the Olympic Games, even if China encounters natural disasters rarely seen over the past decades, even if complicated changes are taking place in the international political and economic areas, even if China is facing a variety of difficulties and unfavorable factors such as rising food prices, climbing home prices, Tibet riot and plummeting stock market etc., Chinese are still confident and optimistic towards the prospect of China and ourselves. In addition, if you really know about the Chinese, you will see a tenacious spirit in the Chinese called the spirit of turning frustration into resolute. When facing challenges and difficulties, Chinese will double our efforts and unite in an unprecedented way. That's why you see the overseas Chinese will proudly sing the Chinese national anthem and take their own initiatives to safeguard the holy torch relay when it is blocked overseas. It is because they understand what they are safeguarding is not only the torch symbolizing the brightness, unity, friendship, peace and justification of the people in the world but also because they understand overseas Chinese will never feel inferior to others in the world as long as our own country grows stronger and prosperous. We are also aware that the reason why the anti-Chinese forces act like ants on a hot pot roots over China's prosperity and rapid development which can hardly understand by them. Therefore, as one of my favorite Chinese sayings goes "Actions speak louder than words.", we should be equipped mentally and psychologically so that we can face any possible verbal attacks and slander in the development path ahead.

Mr. Cafferty, I'm not sure how many of your loyal fans abroad will be deeply affected by your comments and produce another wave of discrimination and bias on China twice or three times or even more than before.  As a Chinese anchor who is also holding a microphone in my hand as you do, I want to convince you of choosing to quit as an optimal option apart from your sincere apologies. By doing so can you show that you are a news anchor who is courageous to confront with the reality and shoulder the responsibility. It isn't a big deal to sacrifice your decent salary and the "good job" as CNN news commentator compared with the trauma you imposed on the minds of the Chinese and the terrible misleading the western world including U.S caused across the globe as well as a widening gap between China and the outside world in mutual trust and friendship. You don't have to be concerned too much because you are not the first one who eats the crab. If my memory serves right, it was in 2004 that 61-year-old British parliament member and anchor of BBC Robert Kilroy Silk experienced the similar incident as you did. His 17-year career life in front of the camera as an anchor of a popular daily talk show program called to an end because he verbally insulted Arabians. He wrote an article called "We Owe Arabs Nothing" published in a right-wing newspaper. The article stated: "That we admire them for being suicide bombers, limb-amputators, women repressors?" Later, BBC banned his program and told him that this move didn't aim at controlling his will to speak freely but an anchor of the program in this segment must be responsible for safeguarding the principles of objectiveness and justification followed by BBC. Compared to him, your insulting words and slander on Chinese people are as competitive as his. I don't want to take this opportunity to show off other similar cases since there are countless of them. As to the boundary and the differences between freedom of speech and insult and slander, I don't think I have to elaborate on that.

Mr. Cafferty, as a Chinese, I hope you could take your time to pay more visits to China and learn more about the development and changes in China. Maybe those visits will change what has been rooted in your mind. China has been a nation with a longstanding reputation and tradition of treating others with courtesy and respect since ancient times. The Chinese people also enjoy lofty virtues of tolerance, generosity and accommodation. Even though you badly hurt the feelings of 56 ethnic groups with the most population in the world, we will still wait for your visit and receive you calmly and peacefully. That's because we expect you to learn from your own experiences and change what has been in your mind about China and the Chinese people. The best result will be you are enlightened and feel shame about your ignorance and bias on China. When you start to repent of your ignorant remarks and even want to make the best of a mistake, we Chinese will probably forgive you and even make friends with you like what is depicted in an old Chinese saying  "A generous person with a broad heart will not care for the mistakes committed by a scumbag.".  However, if you are too stubborn to firmly stick to your bias and never think about repent and change, I will send you another old Chinese saying as "A generous person with a broad heart never looks down upon himself by insulting words of an abject scoundrel.". You know, Chinese will never be beaten down by a dozen of insulting words. Nor will we look down on ourselves. In contrast, Chinese will work even harder and united more closely to achieve bigger strides towards prosperity. We will tell you how short-sighted you are like a frog in the shallow well and how valiant you are on your own dunghill by taking full advantage of our remarkable progress, prosperity and countless miracles made in China. Needless to say, we never place any doubts about how hard we went all the way to achieve this striking economic growth and social progress so far. Therefore, every one of our Chinese cherishes what we have obtained and believe that even if China is as strong as U.S one day, we, as a nation honoring peace and modesty and a nation upholding the spirit of never feeding ourselves with complacency, will still respect any country, any nationality and interests and rights of any individual person in the world. What we have been expecting is everyone in the world can enjoy peace, development, harmony and co-existence. It's our due responsibility and obligation to help everyone on the planet to live decently and bring their values into play.



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