Yang Rui was born in Jilin City but spent much of his childhood in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang. From 1980 to 1986 he attended Shanghai International Studies University, where he received degrees in American/English Literature and International News. He then began his career as a journalist with China National Radio. Currently he is the presenter of Dialogue, an English language talk show where foreign guests have frequent appearances.
According to David Shambaugh, Yang Rui's on-camera personality is "aggressive (often impolite)". Dialogue's alternate host, Tian Wei, who is married to Yang Rui, acts as a foil to Yang, being "female, attractive, suave, polite, inquisitive, and intellectual", according to Shambaugh.
Comments on foreign citizens in China
On 16 May 2012, Yang made comments on Sina Weibo criticising some foreign citizens and journalists in China, including Melissa Chan of Al Jazeera English, who was effectively expelled from the country. Yang's statement occurred during an official Chinese government campaign to identify illegal foreign residents in China. Yang's full posting (translated from Mandarin by The Wall Street Journal) was:
The Public Security Bureau wants to clean out the foreign trash: To arrest foreign thugs and protect innocent girls, they need to concentrate on the disaster zones in [student district] Wudaokou and [drinking district] Sanlitun. Cut off the foreign snake heads. People who can’t find jobs in the U.S. and Europe come to China to grab our money, engage in human trafficking and spread deceitful lies to encourage emigration. 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 demonize China and send them packing.
Yang released a statement on 21 May 2012 defending his comments and seeking to correct mischaracterisations of his message and the English translation of "foreign bitch" instead of "foreign shrew".
Next Media Animation responded to China CCTV's Yang Rui alleged xenophobic comments posted on his Sina Weibo account. The mock animated news story was posted to their site on May 23, 2012, depicting Yang as a dog, with his owners, the CCP, giving him a bone for a job well done, stating "as a Communist Party mouthpiece, Yang is doing a great job!". Viewers were left with the question "Is Yang Rui an idiot or just a jerk?"
Another repercussion of Yang's comments has been an outcry to boycott his Dialogue show. Charlie Custer from the website chinageeks.org, who had previously been a guest on Mr. Rui's show, stated, "I would strongly suggest that foreigners boycott CCTV Dialogue and decline any future invitations." Another former guest, James Fallows of The Atlantic Monthly, also called on invitees of the show to decline their invitations.
On May 24, 2012, The Atlantic Monthly's James Fallows quoted more controversial comments, discovered by Shanghaiist, an online Chinese news discussion board, that had been made by Yang Rui on his Sina Weibo account. "Why do the U.S. media not dare support the call for the establishment of a Palestinian state? It's because they are afraid of getting fired by their Jewish bosses."
The complete statement included a passage saying:
- "The media and the republic go up and down together. The US has done this to the extreme, but Wall Street's greed was not exposed because Jews control both the financial and media worlds. Why do the US media not dare to support the call for the establishment of a Palestinian state? It's because they're afraid of getting fired by their Jewish bosses. When I interviewed the chairman of the US Jewish Association, I questioned him on this. He snarled at me ferociously and said that in America, no one would dare to speak to him this way. He was like a mafia chief. So please stop saying how beautiful American press freedom is."
- CCTV Anchor Bio
- "杨锐简历" (in Simplified Chinese). CCTV. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- Shambaugh, David (2013). "China's Global Cultural Presence". China Goes Global: The Partial Power. Oxford University Press. p. 231.
- Global Times (2012). China on the hunt for illegal foreigners. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- The Wall Street Journal (2012). State TV Host Offers Advice on How to Throw Out ‘Foreign Trash’. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- China Digital Times (2012). TV Host Applauds “Cleaning Out Foreign Trash”. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
- The Wall Street Journal (2012). State TV Host Responds to Controversy Over ‘Foreign Trash’ Comments. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- Chinageeks (2012). Yang Rui, etc.
- The Atlantic (2012) China Soft-Power Watch: The Yang Rui 'Foreign Bitch' Factor
- The Atlantic (2012) The Yang Rui Saga Morphs Into the Surreal
- Is CCTV host Yang Rui an anti-Semite?