Chinese Americans protest across US over Jimmy Kimmel's 'kill Chinese' skit
Thousands of protesters, mostly Chinese, rallied in 27 US cities over a perceived anti-Chinese skit that aired last month in a talk show hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel.
Chinese state media reported that protests swept across the United States on Saturday. One was staged at the Los Angeles headquarters of broadcaster ABC, which aired the programme. Participants argued that ABC and Kimmel had not taken full responsibility for what they perceived as an insult to their heritage.
The protesters called for Kimmel to be fired over a segment of his talk show called "Kids' Table" that aired on October 16. Both ABC and Kimmel have since apologised for the episode, in which a six-year-old boy said "kill everyone in China" when asked by Kimmel how the US should pay back the country's US$1.3 trillion debt to China. Kimmel responded: "That's an interesting idea."
However, Chinese-American groups were not impressed. While some accepted the apologies that were offered after the subsequent uproar, others viewed them as insincere and demanded more. Charles Lu, chairman of the Roundtable of Chinese American Organisations, told the Los Angeles Times last week that they wanted a formal apology from ABC not just to the groups protesting, but to all Chinese people around the world.
Online pictures of Saturday's protests showed demonstrators, including college students, parents and children, dressed in red T-shirts with logos reading "Teach kids to love, not to kill", and chanting slogans such as "Kimmel must go" and "Shame on you, ABC".
Protest organisers distributed free posters to demonstrators. One featured Kimmel with a swastika just above his head.
"The protest plays an important role in improving our prestige and national cohesiveness," a Chinese demonstrator in New Jersey said on internet chat room Mitbbs. "The parade is intended to raise the social status of Chinese Americans in the US."
The segment also prompted the submission of a petition to the White House to investigate the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show on the grounds of offensive content. The petition garnered more than 100,000 signatures.
Xinhua said 800 people attended a rally in Washington, where a letter of protest to ABC was read out. The letter urged the broadcaster to fire Kimmel and hold a press conference to officially apologise to Chinese communities. It called on ABC to make sure that such "rhetoric of racial discrimination" was prevented by stepping up regulation of its televised content.
No one from ABC attended the event in Washington to accept the protest letter, reports said. Police were mobilised to maintain order, but the day ended without incident.
The demonstrations are believed to have been the largest held by the Chinese community in the US since those just before the Beijing Olympics in 2008 in response to CNN commentator Jack Cafferty labelling Chinese leaders "goons" and "thugs".
Video: Animators in China to Jimmy Kimmel: Why you shouldn't 'Kill the Chinese'