CRI / Sichuan Online: Will Yang Rui become another Zhao Pu?

Main Link: China Radio International (originally published by Sichuan Online), May 25, 2012

The Weibo message by Wang Rui, a host at CCTV’s English channel, triggered huge controversy. Last Wednesday, he wrote under his real-name account at Weibo that the public security office should clean out the foreign trash, behead the foreign snakes1), identify foreign spies, expel foreign shrews [or the shrew – the article’s wording leaves this open – JR]2), to shut those who demonized China up and to get them out [of the country].  Following that, an American living in China also posted a message, demanding that CCTV should dismiss Yang Rui.  A small number of foreigners, the Wall Street Journal and other Western media supported this demand. (Quoted from Huanqiu Shibao, May 24, 2012.)
中央电视台英语频道主持人杨锐的一条微博引来巨大争议。他在上周三通过其在微博的实名账户写道,公安局要清扫洋垃圾,斩首洋蛇头,识别洋间谍,赶走洋泼妇,让妖魔化中国的闭嘴滚蛋。一名在华美国人随后也在微博发帖,要求央视开除杨锐。少数在华外国人及《华尔街日报》等西方媒体支持这一要求。(5月24日《环球时报》)

A public figure spoke his opinion on public affairs, on a microblog, and was then referred to as “talking a lot of nonsense”, or being “absolutely faceless” [or without qualities] – isn’t it strange that merely for being a CCTV host, he must not express his innermost feelings? A CCTV host, too, is just a mortal. He, too, may express his own views. This has nothing to do with facelessness. This author would rather think that someone who speaks the truth is showing real character. Try to imagine: some years ago, when microblogging didn’t exist, could Yang Rui’s expression of dissatisfaction have triggered so much attention? It is only now that those lines appeared on Weibo that it caught many peoples’ attention, and therefore, netizens “turned a mole hill into a mountain”, blindly expanding the issue’s impact. As Yang’s work unit, CCTV can’t be too harsh, and appropriate freedom of speech must be given. If CCTV “raised hell” every time after being heavily criticized, who among the hosts would still dare to speak the truth?
作为一名公众人物,在微博上表达自己的言论被有些人指为“大放厥词”、“很没素质”,难道就因为他是央视主持人就不能表达内心的想法吗?央视主持人也是凡人,他也能表达自己的观点,这跟素质没有关系。笔者倒觉得一个人敢于说真话才是真正有素质的体现。试想一下,若是几年之前,微博还没有出现之时,杨锐表达一下自己的不满还会有这么多人注意吗?只是现在这句话出现在了微博之上,被很多人关注了,所以网友们便“小题大做”,盲目的扩大了事情的影响。央视作为杨锐的就职单位,也不能对他要求太过“苛刻”,适当的言论自由还是应该给的。如果央视也被众多的批评言论“煽风点火”了,那以后 “主持人”们谁还敢说真话了?

If this needs to be investigated or not, and he is blamed for acting inappropriately in his capacity [as a CCTV host], that Weibo message could affect CCTV’s image negatively. If we, ordinary people, published such a micropost, it wouldn’t cause such a dispute. This author believes that microposts are individual expression, unrelated to “ethnic discrimination” as stated by foreign media. There is only very few “foreign garbage”, and polite and civilized foreigners should not see this shoe as fitting to them.
如果这事非要追究,怪就怪他“身份”不当,发那样的微博可能会对央视的形象造成负面影响,要是我们这些普通人发这样一条微博就不会引起这么多的口舌是非了。笔者认为,微博是个人表达,与央视,更与外媒所称的“民族歧视”无关。“洋垃圾”只是少部分,有礼貌,讲文明的外国人请不要对号入座。

Maybe our “expecations” about public personalities are too high, that they should always be able to show us a positive, uplifting  face, and report “good” rather than “bad news”.  But outside the workplace, they live their own lives, too, and to blindly turn them into opinion leaders and to turn their opinions into mainstream opinion is wrong.
也许我们对公众关心的人物“期望”太高了,希望他们总能给我们传达积极向上的一面,“报喜不报忧”。但在工作之外,他们也是以个人的方式生活的,盲目的把他们作为意见领袖,把他们的观点作为主流观点,是错误的。

Language, however excited, should not startle compatriots. Yang Rui only referred to “foreign garbage”, not to all foreigners. One has to see the essence of the matter, and not dwell on the appearances. The case of a British man assaulting a Chinese woman in the street in Beijing, and the “resting-feet” passenger who spat dirty language  at a passenger in the row in front of him are those who Yang Rui attacked as “foreign garbage”. Yang also clarified his Weibo post in a media statement in that “after seeing those incidents, I called those foreigners ‘foreign garbage’, and I believe that when they violate Chinese law, they should be sanctioned by the law. I want to distinguish between them and the quiet majority in the foreign community who observe and respect the rules of Chinese culture and society. To identify those few garbage [people] helps to protect the reputation of decent Westerners.” His Weibo message of May 15 only had a function in reminding people that no matter if Western or Chinese people, neither were above the law.
语言不过激,不足以惊醒国人。何况杨锐只是针对“洋垃圾”,不是指所有外国人。要看到本质,不能只停留在表象。最近发生的北京街头欲对中国女子实施性侵害的英国籍男子以及不顾前排乘客感受口吐脏话的老外“翘脚哥”,才是杨锐抨击的“洋垃圾”。在周一他发给媒体的声明中,也明确地就其微博内容引发的争议进行了解释,“在看过这些事件后,我将这些外籍人士称作‘洋垃圾’,我认为如果他们违反了中国的法律,就应该受到法律的制裁。我想把他们与外国社区中那些遵守和尊重中国文化和社会规则的安静的大多数区别开来。找出这些洋垃圾可以有助于保护正派的西方人的名誉。” 他5月16日发布的微博只是想起提醒作用,表明无论是西方人还是中国人,都不能凌驾于法律之上。

Obviously, Yang Rui didn’t mean to attack foreigners. He only hoped that people would respect the law, that no special rights would be given to “foreign garbage”, that people would act as equals, and that immoral foreigners would be punished in accordance with the law. He also affirmed that “the majority of foreigners” were good people who “observe and respect the rules of Chinese culture and society”, and that with the expulsion of bad people, prejudices against all foreigners would be avoided.
显然杨锐没有攻击外国人的意思,只希望人们尊重法律,不要给“洋垃圾”特权,真正做到人人平等,给予不道德的外国人以法律的惩罚。而且他也肯定了外国人中的“大多数”是“遵守和尊重中国文化和社会规则的”好人,把坏人单独拎出来,也避免了人们对所有外国人产生偏见。

[The following paragraph may not be correctly translated – just a try – JR]

China [needs?]  more people with Yang Rui’s integrity. If he didn’t say the truth,  maybe there would be more radical compatriots, but we just don’t encourage extremists’ methods  to wake the common people with vain self-sacrifices. Up to now, the power of speech should be believed in.
中国应该多几个像杨锐这样正直的人。他不过是说了几句真话,可能还有更过激的国人,但是我们就不提倡那种极端的妄图以独自牺牲自己生命的方式来惊醒世人的做法了。要相信言论的力量,点到为止。

On April 11, 2012, well-known CCTV host Zhao Pu was the first to publish the inside gelatin story, and advised people not to eat yoghurt and jelly, which, for the moment, was a great stir. The micropost triggered concern about poisoned capsules and everyone could see that the “gelatin inside story” did exist. He spoke the facts, but with the result that he “disappeared” from the microblog and from television. Many netizens guess that he was “blacklisted”, but he only says that he won’t comment. Hard to believe that the mistake [in his case], too, was that he was a “CCTV host”? Maybe because of [something] somewhere within the “regulations”, words like these shouldn’t have come from his mouth.
2012年4月11日,央视著名主持人赵普率先在微博爆出明胶内幕,劝告人们不要再吃老酸奶和果冻,一时激起千层浪。此微博引发了各界对明胶乃至毒胶囊的关注,大家也可以看到,“明胶内幕”确有此事,他是实话实说,结果却从此从电视和微博中”消失”,不少网友猜测赵普被”封杀”,他自己却只表示“无可奉告”。难道这又错在了他是一名“央视主持人”?也许在“规定”中,这样的话不该从他嘴中出来。

The people wants to hear the truth. If Yang Rui becomes a second Zhao Pu, the people may become even more disappointed.
人民更想听到的是实话,如果杨锐成为第二个赵普,恐怕人民会很失望。

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Notes

1) “Snakeheads” would be the literal translation, but that is probably not what it meant in this context.
2) The “foreign shrew” (洋泼妇) is said to refer to Melissa Chan, until recently al-Jazeera‘s China correspondent, and 洋泼妇 has frequently been translated as “foreign bitch”. The translated article doesn’t refer to her specifically. What Yang really meant probably depends on his word power.
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Related

» Zhao Pu warns…, “Global Times”, April 9, 2012

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