The Epoch Times
Front page of the New York edition on October 10, 2013
|Language||Multiple, mainly Chinese and English|
|Headquarters||New York City, U.S.|
|Circulation||1,314,375 (2012, unaudited)|
|The Epoch Times|
The Epoch Times is a multi-language, international media organisation associated with Falun Gong. As a newspaper, the Times has been publishing in Chinese since May 2000. Headquartered in New York City, the newspaper has local news bureaus and a network of local reporters throughout the world. It is either sold or distributed free-of-charge in roughly 35 countries worldwide, and maintains editions in English, Chinese, nine other languages in print, and 21 on the internet.
The newspaper frequently reports on media censorship and the impact the Chinese government has on overseas Chinese media. It has gained significant influence among the Chinese diaspora overseas.
- 1 History
- 2 Distribution
- 3 Coverage and focus
- 4 Political stance
- 5 Nine commentaries on the Communist Party
- 6 Organ harvesting
- 7 Awards and achievements
- 8 Assessments
- 9 See also
- 10 Footnotes
- 11 External links
The Epoch Times was started in 2000 by John Tang and a group of Chinese Americans who were Falun Gong practitioners. The founders were responding to censorship inside China and a lack of understanding internationally about Chinese repression of the Falun Gong.
In May 2000, the paper was first published in the Chinese language in New York. In 2003, Yuezhi Zhao, Assistant Professor of Communication at Simon Fraser University, Canada, wrote that The Epoch Times website and The Epoch Times group of newspapers had "grown into one of the largest Chinese-language news websites and newspaper groups outside China in the past two years, with local editions in more than thirty U.S. states, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and major Western European countries."
The English edition of The Epoch Times launched in September 2003 on the web, and in August 2004 as a newspaper in New York.
In 2000, 10 Epoch Times correspondents were imprisoned in China, but current staff of the Chinese-language edition work in Hong Kong.
As of February 2012, around the world 67 Epoch Times newspaper editions are published in print. They are available in 11 languages and have a distribution of 1,315,000 copies in 35 different countries. Among the 35 countries, distribution varies between daily, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly.
The Epoch Times is available in 21 languages on the internet. There are at least 24 websites. In Chinese there are websites for Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia as well as the main Chinese website. The Epoch Times receives 105 million page views per month from 20 million visitors.
The paper's reporters are locally based in offices in each country where an edition is printed. In New York they are a common presence at public events, and around the world they cover stories that pertain to their own areas, contributing to a pool of articles for the different editions to share.
|English||The English language edition of The Epoch Times was started in September 2003 as a website, and it went to print in New York in August 2004. It is now published in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Singapore and Malaysia.|
|Chinese||The oldest of The Epoch Times editions, the Chinese paper has been in operation from May 2000, with the web launch in August 2000. The Chinese Epoch Times (Dajiyuan) is now the single largest Chinese language newspaper in the world, covering 35 countries across North and South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.|
|French||The French edition of The Epoch Times was launched as a website in January 2005, and went into print shortly after. La Grande Époque can now be found in France, Canada (Montreal, Quebec province) and Switzerland.|
|Spanish||The Spanish website of La Gran Epoca was launched in early 2005. Circulation of the print edition began in Argentina one week before the website went live.|
|German||The German website of Epoch Times Deutschland was launched in late 2004, around the time that the French edition was launched. It is now printed in Germany and a few neighboring countries as Die Neue Epoche.|
|Russian||The Russian language edition of The Epoch Times was started in December 2004 as a website, and later it went to print in St. Petersburg. The Russian newspaper is now distributed all over Russia.|
|Ukrainian||The Ukrainian website of Велика Епоха (or The Epoch Times) was launched in May 2005. In March 2006, the Russian edition (www.EpochTimes.com.ua/ru/) of the Ukrainian site was launched for the Ukrainians who speak Russian.|
|Bulgarian||The Bulgarian edition of The Epoch Times started operation in mid-February 2005. It started with a Bulgarian version of the "Nine Commentaries".|
|Hebrew||The Hebrew edition of The Epoch Times started operation in December 2005. It is printed weekly and is mainly distributed in Tel Aviv.|
|Slovak||The Slovak edition of The Epoch Times started operation on March 1, 2006.|
|Czech||The Czech edition of The Epoch Times started operation on October 6, 2006.|
|Turkish||The Turkish edition of The Epoch Times started operation on June 9, 2011.|
|Portuguese||The Portuguese edition of The Epoch Times started operation on April 18, 2012. The core team is based in Brazil, with a satellite office in Portugal.|
|Italian||The Italian language edition website of The Epoch Times was launched in December 2012.|
|Persian||The Persian edition of The Epoch Times was officially launched on Jan. 12, 2013. This edition serves those speaking Persian in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, as well as in other parts of the globe.|
- Japanese - distributed in Tokyo and printed on a bi-weekly basis
- Korean - distributed in specific areas of Seoul on a weekly basis
- Indonesian - distributed in Jakarta
- Vietnamese, Swedish (internet only editions)
Coverage and focus
New York edition
The Epoch Times ' flagship New York edition is typically around 50 pages, divided into four sections. Section "A" is primarily devoted to current events, with several pages devoted to China issues and politics. Section A also includes opinion pages, sports, science & technology, business and real estate.
Section "B" is Arts & Culture—covering classical art forms, exhibits and events. Section B also includes Style and an "Essence of China" page devoted to traditional Chinese culture, stories, and art forms. Section "C" focuses on health and fitness featuring mainstream medical science, alternative and Chinese medical treatments. Section "D" is Food which focuses on cooking and local restaurants.
Other English editions
Outside of New York, other English editions typically take the form of a 16–24-page broadsheet. The content is a shorter version of the New York edition, with a focus on each edition's local region.
According to The Epoch Times, The Chinese Epoch Times (Dajiyuan) is the largest and most widely distributed Chinese language newspaper in the world, covering 35 countries. The print edition ranges from 30–80 pages depending on geographical region. The typical print edition includes sections on local & national news, China, world, health, science, autos, real estate, arts & culture, style, home, food, dining and special sections covering traditional Chinese culture & values.
During the 2009 New York City Comptroller elections, the Epoch Times alleged that Taiwan-born Democratic nominee John Liu is part of a "United Front" by the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate the United States and subvert its government, democracy, and human rights in general. The newspaper alleged that "the CCP works tenaciously and systematically to place its people [...] in key positions in corporations, academia, and government in the United States and other countries." The Epoch Times also published an 8-page "special edition", and also featured on its website a section focused on coverage of Liu's reported ties with CCP officials.
During Hu Jintao's visit to Canada in June 2010, the Toronto Star noted that the Epoch Times had published several "hard-hitting" critical stories on Hu's visit, such as allegations of the local Chinese embassy's orchestration of welcome parades, as well as an alleged recording of a speech by the first secretary of education Liu Shaohua, in which Liu stated that embassy would provide accommodation and transport for over 3,000 participants in the welcome parade.
Canadian media reported that the parliamentary press office made deliberate arrangements in relation to Hu's public appearances limiting the Epoch Times ' access to the Chinese President, even though the newspaper is an accredited member of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery, with all the same access rights as other media outlets. The paper also carried an exclusive interview with outspoken Canadian Member of Parliament Rob Anders, wherein Anders alleged that the Chinese government used gifts and business deals in attempts to influence Canadian political decisions.
The Epoch Times originally targeted Chinese readers living abroad and reported on various abuses and inner workings of the Communist Party of China (CCP). The paper's reports on China are critical of the PRC government, particularly in its tone and commentaries towards the Communist Party. The paper reports on Falun Gong-related news, including the group's attempt to sue former Chinese President Jiang Zemin under civil legislation for genocide, when most other overseas Chinese-language newspapers do not cover such news. As reported by the paper itself, Chinese journalists relayed stories overseas of alleged human rights abuses, infringements on civil liberties and corruption in the CCP, among others. In 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that "three new U.S-based, Chinese-language media outlets that provide provocative reporting about the Communist Party, government oppression and social unrest in China [namely the Epoch Times, Sound of Hope, and NTDTV] have ties to the Falun Gong spiritual movement." When interviewed, executives at each outlet said they did not represent the Falun Gong movement as a whole.
The paper also counters what it considers to be CCP propaganda through its own opinion pieces and reporting. The paper is vocal in supporting dissidents, pro-independence Taiwanese, and other traditional opponents of the CCP. According to Ming Xia, political science professor at the College of Staten Island, The Epoch Times represents part of Falun Gong's effort to expand to non-practitioners, and "is part of the Falun Gong strategy to embed itself into the large civil society for influence and legitimacy."
The Epoch Times also runs mainstream newswire stories and in some places can resemble a community newspaper. Some local versions take the form of a free weekly newspaper drawing on content from the Epoch Times website, and are distributed worldwide. Zhao said: "While mainstream newspaper typically treat Web versions as an extension of the already-existing print version, the Epoch Times website serves as the master for all its worldwide papers."
The paper covers general interest issues with a focus on China news and human rights. The newspaper covers causes and groups opposed to the CCP, including Falun Gong, dissidents, activists, and supporters of the Tibetan government-in-exile. The newspaper is heavily critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the policies of Chinese government. In 2004, the newspaper published the "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party", an in-depth critique of China's ruling regime. The Epoch Times website also hosts a "CCP Renunciations" service, encouraging Chinese to quit the CCP and related organizations. The PRC government blocks mainland Chinese from accessing the Epoch Times website.
David Ownby, director of the Center for East Asian Studies at the Université de Montréal and the author of Falun Gong and the Future of China, wrote that the newspaper's articles are "well written and interesting, if occasionally idiosyncratic in their coverage." "The Epoch Times is a newspaper with a mission," Ownby says, which includes "reporting on issues bearing on human rights throughout the world, which allows for considerable focus on China and Falun Gong."
Nine commentaries on the Communist Party
Since November 2004, the Chinese version of The Epoch Times has published and promoted a series of editorials and a book titled "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" (traditional Chinese: 九評共產黨; simplified Chinese: 九评共产党). The editorials expose the CCP's often violent political campaigns through its history, from its ascent to power under Mao Zedong to its present-day form. In it the CCP was criticized as an illegitimate institution who employed underhanded tactics to gain power. The commentaries allege that the CCP "destroyed traditional Chinese culture" and brands the CCP an "evil cult". According to Ownby, the Commentaries are a condemnation of Communism and direct indictment on the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party in ruling China. While acknowledging the "unnecessary violence" the Chinese Communist Party have inflicted, as a professional historian Ownby finds that the lack of balance and nuance in tone and style makes the editorial resemble "anti-Communist propaganda written in Taiwan in the 1950s."
The Nine Commentaries have been credited by the newspaper and prominent leaders of the expatriate Chinese community, with sparking an exodus from the CCP and its affiliated organizations. The number of people who have resigned from the Communist Party of China or its affiliate organizations, is published in Chinese editions of the newspaper. The counter stood at over 190 million on 16 January 2015.
In March 2006, The Epoch Times published the allegations of three individuals of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners at Sujiatun Hospital. The third person, a doctor, said the so-called hospitals in Sujiatun are but one of 36 similar concentration camps all over China. The claims were criticized by dissident Harry Wu, who stated "no concrete or substantiated evidence, such as documents or photos, have been provided to support the witness’ statements".
In July 2006, the Kilgour-Matas report found that, "the source of 41,500 transplants for the six year period 2000 to 2005 is unexplained" and concluded that "there has been and continues today to be large scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners". Appendix 16 of the revised report refuted Harry Wu's comments.
In July 2006 and April 2007, Chinese officials denied organ harvesting allegations, insisting that China abides by World Health Organization principles that prohibit the sale of human organs without written consent from donors.
Journalist and author Ethan Gutmann estimates 65,000 Falun Gong prisoners were killed for their organs from 2000 to 2008.
In May 2008, two United Nations Special Rapporteurs reiterated their requests for the Chinese government to fully explain the allegation of taking vital organs from Falun Gong practitioners and the source of organs for the sudden increase in organ transplants in China since 2000.
In 2013, The Epoch Times won an award for its coverage of the organ harvesting issue.
In April 2006, Dr. Wang Wenyi who worked for The Epoch Times, specializing in medical issues, shouted at Chinese President Hu Jintao from the White House lawn. The newspaper stated that it did not know that Wang was planning the protest and apologized to the U.S. President. After her protest, Wang resigned from The Epoch Times.
Awards and achievements
The Epoch Times global media company has been the recipient of several awards:
- 2005 National Ethnic Press & Media Council Award – The Epoch Times was given this annual award for being "a strong defender for human rights and democratic values." The paper was also acknowledged for being the first to report on the coverup of the SARS virus by Chinese authorities in China.
- 2005 Asian American Journalists Association National Award – The Epoch Times was awarded for "excellence in coverage of Asian American Issues" for its editorial series, Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party. According to the newspaper itself, The "Nine Commentaries" prompted millions of Chinese people to quit the Communist Party because it provided "the first in-depth look at the true nature and history of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)."
- 2005 International Society for Human Rights Award – In May 2005, Die Neue Epoche, the German-language edition of The Epoch Times, received a special media prize from the International Society for Human Rights (IGFM) for "extensive and regular reporting about violations of human rights in China."
- 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal – The Epoch Times was awarded this commemorative medal, which honours "significant contributions and achievements by Canadians." Canadian publisher Cindy Gu was nominated for the medal by the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness for raising awareness of human rights abuses in China and the organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners.
- 2012 National Ethnic Press and Media Council Award – The Chinese edition of The Epoch Times was given this annual award for, "Excellence in editorial/free expression, best concept and visual presentation."
- 2012 New York Press Association Award – The Epoch Times won first place in the category "Best Special Section—Advertising, Division 2" for a special section produced for Asia Week New York in March 2012. "A great special section has five strong components: a great cover, appealing design, good art, strong content, and well designed complimentary advertising. This section has all five," said the NYPA judges. "In all, this is one of the nicest sections I have ever seen produced by a newspaper."
- 2012 Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi award – The Epoch Times China reporter Matthew Robertson won this award in the category of Non-Deadline Reporting for a series of articles he wrote on forced, live organ harvesting in China.
- 2013 Newswomen's Club Award – The Epoch Times New York reporter Genevieve Belmaker won the Front Page Award from the Newswomen's Club of New York for reporting about the impact of Hurricane Sandy, in the category of newspapers with a circulation of less than 100,000 per day.
- 2013 Top Minority Business Enterprise Awards – The Epoch Times Chinese edition CEO in the Washington region, Jenny Jing, won the TOP MBE Awards' "Business Legends" award on October 30, 2013.
The Epoch Times has had mixed reactions since its emergence. According to David Ownby, it has been praised and also been criticized for a perceived bias against the CCP, and support of Falun Gong practitioners and other dissidents such as Tibetans, Taiwanese independence advocates, democracy activists, Uyghurs and others. The paper, therefore, is often assessed in light of its connection to Falun Gong, rather than a thorough analysis of its editorial content.
James Bettinger, a professor of Communications at Stanford University and the director of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships, said "Even if the Epoch Times is not associated with Falun Gong, if they consistently write about Falun Gong in the same perspective, or if there are no articles examining Falun Gong, people would perceive it as being not credible." Orville Schell, dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, said in 2005 that "It's hard to vouch for their quality because it's difficult to corroborate, but it's not something to be dismissed as pure propaganda."
Jiao Guobiao, a former Beijing University journalism professor who was dismissed after criticizing the Central Propaganda Department, proposed that even if The Epoch Times published only negative information highly critical of the CCP, the weight of their attacks could never begin to counterbalance the positive propaganda the party publishes about itself. In addressing media balance, Jiao noted that the Chinese public lacked negative, critical information regarding their country. As such, he noted for a need of media balance based on the principles of freedom, equality, and legality, and that media balance "is the result of the collective imbalances of all".
The paper's stance has also been lauded by some political commentators and media experts. Author and investigative reporter Ethan Gutmann has characterized The Epoch Times as a leader in political analysis of the Chinese regime, saying "With the "Chinese Regime in Crisis" series, the Epoch Times has finally and indisputably arrived. Any China expert who wants to save face by pretending the paper doesn't exist can continue to do so—for a little while anyway—but they had better be reading it in secret."
In 2010, The Epoch Times successfully defended its reporting in the Canadian court system, when a publisher they had reported on, Crescent Chau, sued for libel. The justice in charge of the case ruled that the paper had acted in the public interest, and that the particular article expressed "legitimate concerns and constitute an opinion which is drawn from a factual premise". In examining the case, John Gordon Miller, a Canadian journalist and media professor, noted that the articles of the paper "appear to be thoroughly and professionally reported".
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Epoch Times.|
- English website theepochtimes.com (see languages for 20 other languages)
- "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" ninecommentaries.com