- Keep a red line for arable land
- Precision farming yields many gains
- Xi building bridges on global tour
- Language evolves on shifting sands
- New rules for global governance needed
- New direction for World Bank
- Further R&D reform needed
- Big boost for poverty-stricken province
- More sustainable growth
- Closer EU-China cooperation
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ESPN, a sports channel in the United States, blundered last week by using a derogatory word in a headline to describe New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin after the team lost to the New Orleans Hornets last Friday.
The action drew strong protests from Chinese and Asian Americans. ESPN removed the headline from its website less than 40 minutes after it was posted. It also issued an apology, fired the headline writer and suspended the anchor for 30 days.
I applaud ESPN's swift and appropriate response, though like Lin, I like to believe that the headline was unintentional.
Keeping the news media free from racial slurs and foul language is important for any society.
However, the frequent use of such words by Peking University professor and TV commentator Kong Qingdong is setting a negative example. Kong, who claims to be a 73rd-generation descendant of Confucius, uses profanity in his program to attack people he dislikes or disagrees with, both inside and outside China.
Despite strong public protests, we have never heard any apology from Kong, the university where he teaches, or the TV station where he works as a commentator.
Instead Kong either defends his argument or tries to claim he got carried away, such as in the case last month when he triggered an outpouring of protests from Hong Kong residents after he called them "dogs and not people".
While Kong's bad mouth and obduracy is a tragedy, what's even more disheartening is the widespread support he receives.
Many of his supporters and sympathizers argue that freedom of speech means that Kong should be allowed to say whatever he wants and that his coarse language serves to reinforce his argument, rather than weaken it.
But this is not true. On the contrary, the vulgar words he uses on his TV program or in his blogs have immediately estranged many people like me as well as many Peking University students who protested and demanded his resignation. This is despite the fact that some of his arguments may make sense.