They come here... Chinese TV host rails against 'foreign trash

Presenter calls expelled reporter a bitch in nationalist rant about expatriate spies and liars

Beijing

One of China's leading television hosts has launched a vitriolic attack on foreigners, calling the recently expelled Al Jazeera correspondent a "foreign bitch" and praising police for "clearing out foreign trash".

Yang Rui, the host of the current affairs interview show Dialogue on the state broadcaster CCTV, often interviews overseas experts in English for the programme. The show is a flagship on the English-language channel CCTV4 and is at the forefront of China's efforts to boost its soft power overseas and present a kinder, gentler face to the country.

Mr Yang's rant comes as Beijing authorities have launched a 100-day campaign to "clean out" foreigners living or working illegally, amid online fury over the bad behaviour of some foreign residents.

He wrote on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, where he has 800,000 followers: "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."

The tone was far harsher than anything ever uttered on his show, which has a fairly nationalist tone but avoids overt confrontation.

"Foreign spies seek out Chinese girls to mask their espionage and pretend to be tourists while compiling maps and GPS data for Japan, Korea and the West. We kicked out that foreign bitch and closed Al Jazeera's Beijing bureau. We should shut up those who demonise China and send them packing," Mr Yang wrote.

He urged the Public Security Bureau to concentrate its efforts on the Beijing "disaster zones" of Wudaokou, where many students live, and Sanlitun, a bar district and shopping area popular with expatriates.

A significant portion of the Chinese reactions on Weibo were critical of Mr Yang. "This is how the Boxer Rebellion started," one commentator wrote, and several other posts referred to the anti-foreigner unrest of the early 20th century. Some of the comments were reposted by the blogger Charlie Custer on his ChinaGeeks website, prompting Mr Yang to call for the Public Security Bureau to investigate him.

"There is a reason fewer and fewer people are watching TV," ran one, while another pointed out that Mr Yang's daughter was actually studying overseas.

And the Chinese journalist Michael Anti tweeted: "After insulting laowais [foreigners] like that, can Yang Rui expect to have any more foreigners on his talk show in the future?"

A recent online video showed a man, reportedly a British tourist, sexually assaulting a young Chinese woman before being tackled by angry passers-by.

The campaign against illegal foreigners has a giant fist as its logo, and foreigners are now required to carry passports and accommodation registration documents at all times.

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