A guest on the network falsely claimed that Chinese diplomats sat down during a standing ovation for Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky
CNN apologized on Thursday to China’s Global Times newspaper for a broadcast on Wednesday in which US Representative Michael McCaul accused a Chinese delegation of remaining seated during a standing ovation for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at a World Economic Forum meeting. The seated delegation were Vietnamese, according to Chinese reports.
McCaul, a Republican from Texas, told CNN on Wednesday that he had been sitting in front of a “Chinese delegation” during Zelensky’s speech at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday. McCaul said that as leaders in attendance stood and clapped for the Ukrainian president, this delegation remained seated in silence, before walking out of the auditorium.
CNN displayed video footage of the diplomats in their seats, and McCaul told the network that the scene “sent a clear message they do not support Ukraine.”
However, Beijing denied that its diplomats were even in the room at the time, and Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin called on McCaul to correct his statement. CNN, however, addressed the error first.
“We regret the error that appeared on our air … we reached out to McCaul’s office for a statement,” the network told the Global Times in an email on Thursday.
The Global Times had published an extensive article on the mixup on Wednesday. Citing other Chinese media sources, the newspaper noted that one of the men in the picture behind McCaul appeared to be the deputy prime minister of Vietnam. Vietnamese media reported earlier in the week that the deputy PM, Le Minh Khai, would attend Davos on Monday and Tuesday.
McCaul, who sits on the Republican Party’s ‘China Task Force’, has not yet addressed the incident.
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