[Audio below.] Conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh is at the center of controversy once again, and this new one goes beyond U.S. borders. The talk show host is taking heat for mocking a speech made by Chinese President Hu Jintao at the White House Wednesday.
“Hu Jintao — He was speaking and they weren’t translating. They normally translate every couple of words. Hu Jintao was just going ching chong, ching chong cha,” Limbaugh said, before launching into a 17-second imitation of the Chinese leader’s dialect.
Listen to it HERE:
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Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., the first Chinese-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, said she was “shocked and appalled” by Limbaugh’s comments.
“Calling the Chinese names and imitating the Chinese language was a childish and offensive tactic,” she said in a statement to ABC News. “It is one thing to disagree with a nation and criticize its policies, but it is another thing to demonize an entire people.
“Over the last 150 years, Chinese in America have faced severe racial discrimination. It wasn’t that long ago that the Chinese in America were legally excluded from the basic rights given to every other newcomer. They were called racial slurs, were spat upon in the streets, derided in the halls of Congress and even brutally murdered,” she added. “So when I hear popular leaders in the media, like Mr. Limbaugh, unearth the same type of derogatory rhetoric I can only think about how far we have come and worry about whether we want to head back in that direction.”
Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., the first Chinese-American to serve in the House, called Limbaugh’s recent rhetoric another example of his “fundamental lack of character.”
“What begins as an ugly display quickly becomes as striking for its pathetic childishness,” Wu said in a statement to ABC News. “Mr. Limbaugh proves once again his disinterest in civil and thoughtful discourse, and in doing so he ridicules one of the world’s oldest languages, insults the Chinese American and Asian American communities, and disrespects the 1.3 billion people of China.”
The mockery is being criticized my many across the country. California State Sen. Leland Yee asked Limbaugh to apologize for his “classless act” and touted Wednesday’s show as an example of the “bigotry that has often plagued his commentary.”
“His classless act is an insult to over 3,000 years of cultural history, and is a slap in the face to the millions of Chinese Americans who have struggled in this country and to a people who constitute one-quarter of the world’s population,” Yee said in a statement.
Salon.com editor and blogger Andrew Leonard called Limbaugh’s “bravura performance” an embarrassment to the country.
“This is just embarrassing,” Leonard wrote. “I’m sure the clip is already surging through the Chinese Internet, and hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens are contemplating the fact that one of the heroes of the newly ascendant Republican party is a nativist ignoramus intent on purposely humiliating the current leader of the world’s next great superpower.”