Protesters take CNN to task over commentator's China remarks

By: AP
By: AP

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Chinese-Americans rallied outside CNN's Hollywood office on Saturday to demand the firing of commentator Jack Cafferty for calling China's goods "junk" and its leaders a "bunch of goons and thugs."

"We understand free speech," Lake Wang, 39, told the Los Angeles Times. "But what if Cafferty said this about other racial groups? I think he would be fired. I think he's jealous of China."

A crowd estimated by police at 2,000 to 5,000 gathered, chanting "Cafferty, Fire," and singing Chinese songs. The crowd was peaceful, and no arrests were made, police Sgt. David Torres said.

Another two dozen people holding Chinese flags also demonstrated outside CNN's corporate headquarters in Atlanta.

A call to CNN representatives seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Cafferty made the comments during an appearance on "The Situation Room" that aired April 9.

Speaking about the U.S. trade deficit with China, Cafferty said: "We continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food and export, you know, jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month to turn out the stuff that we're buying from Wal-Mart."

"So I think our relationship with China has certainly changed," he continued. "I think they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years."

China on Thursday snubbed an apology from CNN over the remarks, which Cafferty said referred to China's government, not its people.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the CNN statement lacked sincerity and instead "turned its attack on the Chinese government to try to sow division between the Chinese government and the people."

China has been under scrutiny as it prepares to host the Olympics in August. Criticism of its human rights record and unrest in Tibet have received widespread coverage, leading Chinese leaders to accuse Western media of smearing the country.

A wave of verbal assaults on foreign media has raised concerns about media controls at the Olympics. CNN has been singled out by the Chinese government, and activists have phoned and e-mailed death threats to Western reporters.

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