CNN journalist bows out of relay

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 June, 2008, 12:00am

CNN's designated Olympic torch relay runner made a sudden U-turn yesterday by announcing he would not run in the Beijing leg after all.

Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz said he would give up his place and offer it to 'any member' of the Sichuan earthquake rescue and relief operations.

The pullout comes just a week after he said he was honoured to have been chosen to carry the torch when it returns to the capital on August 6.

'My daughter Michelle and I are happy and honoured to have been selected as torch-bearers in the ongoing Olympic relay,' he said.

'However, only Michelle will be running in the relay.

'I wish to offer my slot to someone who has made extraordinary contributions during the earthquake rescue and relief operations, in any field.'

The veteran China journalist, a Philippine national, bore the brunt of China's wrath after commentator Jack Cafferty's now infamous 'goons and thugs' remark made on a political programme on April 9. FlorCruz was summoned by the Foreign Ministry for an angry dressing down after CNN's initial apology failed to appease.

It finally accepted an apology after a letter was presented last month by CNN president Jim Walton to China's ambassador to the United States.