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)|
Epoch Times is a multi-language, international media organisation in print and online, headquartered it New York City. It was founded by Chinese-Americans who sought to establish an uncensored and independent Chinese-language newspaper serving both the diaspora and mainland Chinese.
The newspaper covers matters of general interest, though maintains a focus on news about China and human rights issues there. The Epoch Times is widely distributed in overseas Chinese communities. Epoch Times draws its China news from a network of sources inside China, plus the expertise and contacts of Chinese expatriates living in the West. Its other language editions maintain their own staff of reporters.
The newspaper has been publishing in Chinese since May 2000. It is either sold or distributed free-of-charge in 35 countries, with editions in English, Chinese and nine other languages in print, and 21 languages on the internet. A typical issue includes sections for world and national news, opinion pieces, sports, entertainment, business, arts and culture, travel, health and automobiles. Epoch Times websites are blocked in China.
- 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
Epoch Times was founded in 2000 by John Tang and a group of Chinese-Americans, primarily in response to Chinese censorship and propaganda after the initiation of the persecution of Falun Gong, which began the previous year. In May 2000, the paper was first published in the Chinese language in New York, with the web launch in August 2000.
In 2003, 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 the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and major Western European countries.
The first English edition launched online in 2003, followed by the New York print edition in 2004.
In 2000, 10 Epoch Times correspondents were imprisoned in China, but current staff of the Chinese-language edition work in Hong Kong.
In 2011 Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada wrote, "since its launch in Canada in 2000, the Epoch Times has become a popular source of information on issues and events of interest to the Chinese-Canadian community... With local editions published in Toronto, Vancouver, Montréal, Ottawa and Calgary/Edmonton, the Epoch Times is today the largest daily newspaper of its kind in the country."
As of February 2012, 67 Epoch Times newspaper editions are published in print in 5 continents. They are available in 11 languages and have a distribution of 1,315,000 copies in 35 countries. Distribution varies from daily to monthly.
Epoch Times is available in 21 languages on the internet. 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.
Reporters cover stories that pertain to their own areas, contributing to a pool of articles for the different editions to share.
Launch dates and summaries
|English||The English language edition of Epoch Times started in September 2003 as a website, and 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 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 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 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 launched in late 2004. It is now printed in Germany and a few neighboring countries as Die Neue Epoche.|
|Russian||The Russian language edition 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 Epoch Times) 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 started in mid-February 2005, with a Bulgarian version of the "Nine Commentaries".|
|Hebrew||The Hebrew edition started in December 2005. It is printed weekly and is mainly distributed in Tel Aviv.|
|Slovak||The Slovak edition started on 1 March 2006.|
|Czech||The Czech edition started on 6 October 2006.|
|Turkish||The Turkish edition started on 9 June 2011.|
|Portuguese||The Portuguese edition of started on 18 April 2012. The core team is based in Brazil, with a satellite office in Portugal.|
|Italian||The Italian language edition website launched in December 2012.|
|Persian||The Persian edition launched on 12 January 2013. This edition serves those speaking Persian in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and other countries.|
- 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
Epoch Times ' main 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. Print editions range from 30 to 80 pages. A 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, Epoch Times alleged that Taiwan-born Democratic nominee John Liu is part of a "United Front" by the Chinese Communist Party to promote official Chinese interests. 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." Epoch Times also published an 8-page special edition, and also featured on its website a section focused on coverage of Liu's alleged 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 General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, even though the newspaper is an accredited member of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery. The paper 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.
Epoch Times originally targeted readers in China and reported on various abuses and inner workings of the Communist Party of China (CCP).
The paper counters what it considers to be official Chinese propaganda through its own opinion pieces and reporting. The newspaper covers causes and groups opposed to CCP abuses, including Falun Gong, dissidents, activists, and supporters of the Tibetan government-in-exile. The paper's reports on China are critical of the PRC government. The paper reports on Falun Gong-related news, including the group's attempt to sue former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin under civil legislation for genocide, when most other overseas Chinese-language newspapers do not cover such news. 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.
Epoch Times also runs mainstream newswire stories and in some places can resemble a community newspaper. 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."
According to Ming Xia, political science professor at the College of Staten Island, 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."
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 "Epoch Times is a newspaper with a mission, that of 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 Epoch Times has published and promoted a series of editorials and a booklet 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. The CCP was criticized as an illegitimate institution which used 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 has 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 commentaries won an award in 2005.
The Nine Commentaries have been translated into more than 30 other languages and released as a DVD. 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 Chinese individuals who said that thousands of Falun Gong practitioners had been killed to supply China's organ transplant industry, including a doctor, said who said there were 36 concentration camps all over China. The claims were criticized by dissident Harry Wu, stated "no concrete or substantiated evidence, such as documents or photos, have been provided to support the witness’ statements".
The Kilgour-Matas report stated "the source of 41,500 transplants for the six year period 2000 to 2005 is unexplained" and "we believe 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.
In 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 that has been going on in China since the year 2000".
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 she 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.
- 2013 New York Press Association Awards – Epoch Times English edition staff reporters, photographers, and designers won 16 awards . Six of the awards were for the first place, including top honors for overall excellence in photography, design, and advertising. Reporters Joshua Philipp and Zachary Stieber won second-place awards for best feature series and in-depth reporting.
- 2014 New York Press Association Awards – Epoch Times English edition staff reporters, photographers, and designers won 25 awards. 10 first places prizes, six for second place, five third-place finishes, and four honorable mentions. For the second year, the design department won first prize in the Richard L. Stein Award for Overall Design Excellence, and the John J. Evans Award for Advertising Excellence 
- 2014 Society for News Design Awards – Epoch Times English edition designers won 2 awards of Excellence in the Best of News Design Creative Competition. Epoch Times won for its Dine and Unwind section and a feature story on indigenous Scandinavian art, “Sami Stories Are Harrowing, Heartening
David Ownby stated that the newspaper's articles are "well written and interesting, if occasionally idiosyncratic in their coverage." According to 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. 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 paper's articles "appear to be thoroughly and professionally reported".
"Bold, encouraging, thoughtful, the Epoch Times has become one of Canada's premier publications. For ten years now, the award-winning newspaper has been building bridges between communities and covering the stories that are shaping our world... the Epoch Times immense success is a testament to the public's appetite for a fearless independent voice. I'd like to commend the Epoch Times for a decade of journalistic excellence", wrote Peter Kent, Canada's Minister of the Environment, former journalist, producer and anchorman.
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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