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The Epoch Times

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The Epoch Times
Truth and Tradition
Epoch Times logo.svg
Epochtimescover.png
Front page of The Epoch Times New York edition for March 18, 2016
TypeInternational newspaper
FormatBroadsheet
Owner(s)Epoch Media Group
Founder(s)John Tang
PublisherEpoch Media Group
FoundedMay 20, 2000; 20 years ago (2000-05-20)
Political alignmentRight-wing[1][2]
Anti-communist, specifically opposing the Communist Party of China[3]
LanguageMultiple, mainly Chinese and English
HeadquartersManhattan, New York City, U.S.
Circulation1,314,375 (2012, unaudited)
Websitewww.theepochtimes.com

The Epoch Times is a U.S. based international multi-language newspaper and media extension of the Falun Gong new religious movement.[4][5][6] The newspaper is part of the Epoch Media Group, which also operates New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD).[7] For its articles, the publication draws from a network within China, as well as staff living in the West.[8][9][10] It has websites in 35 countries.[11] Its websites are blocked in mainland China, whose Communist government The Epoch Times investigates for human rights violations.[11]

The Epoch Times is known in Europe to promote far-right politicians,[12][13] and in the United States it backs President Donald Trump; a 2019 report showed it to be the second-largest funder of pro-Trump Facebook advertising after the Trump campaign.[14][15][16] The group's news sites and YouTube channels have spread conspiracy theories such as QAnon and anti-vaccination propaganda.[7][17][18] The organization frequently promotes other Falun Gong extensions, such as its performing arts company, Shen Yun.[4]

History

The Epoch Times was founded in 2000 by John Tang and other Chinese Americans associated with the Falun Gong new religious movement.[19] The founders said they were responding to censorship inside China and a lack of international understanding about the Chinese government's repression of Falun Gong.[20][21] In May 2000, the paper was first published in the Chinese language in New York, with the web launch in August 2000.[22]

By 2003, The Epoch Times website and group of newspapers had grown into one of the largest Chinese-language news sites and newspaper groups outside China, with local editions in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and major Western European countries.[23] The first English edition launched online in 2003, followed by the New York print edition in 2004.[22]

Reports by Reporters Without Borders in 2019 and the Hoover Institution in 2018 called The Epoch Times one of the few independent Chinese-language media outlets in the United States, independent from PRC's control.[24][25]

According to NBC News, "little is publicly known about the precise ownership, origins or influences of The Epoch Times," and it is loosely organized into several regional tax free non-profits, under the umbrella of the Epoch Media Group, together with New Tang Dynasty Television.[7]

The newspaper's revenue has increased rapidly in recent years, from $3.8 million in 2016 to $8.1 million in 2017 (with spending of $7.2 million) and $12.4 million in 2018.[26] Tax documents of the Epoch Media Group indicated that between 2012 and 2016, the group received $900,000 from a principal at Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund led by the conservative political donor Robert Mercer.[27] Chris Kitze, a former NBC executive and creator of the fake news website Before It's News who also manages a cryptocurrency hedge fund, joined the paper's board as vice president in 2017.[26]

Distribution

ÉpoqueTimes office in Montreal's Chinatown in 2015

The Epoch Times says it hosts websites in 21 languages and 35 countries, and has print editions in eight languages: Chinese, English, Spanish, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, and Indonesian.[11]

In April 2019, videos and ads from the Epoch Media Group including The Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty (NTD) totaled 3 billion views on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, according to the analytics company Tubular. That ranked it 11th among all video creators, and ahead of any other traditional news publisher, according to NBC News.[7]

Censorship

In some cases The Epoch Times operates in a hostile overseas environment, in which "overseas Chinese media companies choosing to remain independent or publish non-approved content become the targets of an aggressive campaign of elimination or control."[28] In one instance Chinese diplomatic officials made threats against media for reporting Falun Gong-related content; in other cases, advertisers and distributors have been threatened not to support The Epoch Times. Communist Party authorities have been accused of resorting to "militant methods" against the newspaper and its staff, including attacking staff and destroying computer equipment.[28]

According to a Reporters Without Borders report, Epoch's chief technical officer was attacked and beaten in Atlanta home in 2006 by suspected Chinese government agents who took his two laptops.[24]

In 2006, the International Federation of Journalists criticized what it called a "Dirty War" against The Epoch Times, citing incidents such as The Epoch Times's Hong Kong printing plant being broken into and damaged by unidentified men, and Epoch's offices in Sydney and Toronto receiving suspicious mail envelopes suspected of containing toxic materials. The IFJ also noted incidences of Epoch Times staff and advertisers being intimidated, and newspapers being confiscated, in what it characterized as "a vicious witch-hunt aimed at crushing the voice of dissent."[29]

The newspaper was briefly banned from Malaysia after coming under reported pressure by the Chinese Communist Party.[30]

In 2016, the newspaper was removed from the pharmacy of Australian National University, after the president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association confronted the pharmacist and threw out the papers. The incident drew national media coverage over questions of Chinese government sponsored overseas student organizations.[31][32]

In November 2019, Reporters Without Borders called on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to protect press freedoms after The Epoch Times said four masked arsonists with batons had damaged its printing press.[33]

Relationship to Falun Gong

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 claimed they did not represent the Falun Gong movement as a whole.[34]

Associated Press reporter Nahal Toosi wrote in 2006 that it is "technically inaccurate" to say that Falun Gong owns The Epoch Times, although many of the newspaper's staffers are Falun Gong practitioners.[35] Toosi noted "many observers" have said Falun Gong uses the newspaper for its public relations campaigns, and the paper is connected with the group and carries sympathetic coverage of it.[35][36][37][30][38]

The English Epoch Times chair Stephen Gregory said in 2006: "It's not a Falun Gong newspaper. Falun Gong is a question of an individual's belief. The paper's not owned by Falun Gong, it doesn't speak for Falun Gong, it doesn't represent Falun Gong. It does cover the persecution of Falun Gong in China."[35]

In 2003 sociologist Yuezhi Zhao wrote that the paper "displays an indisputable ideological and organizational affinity with Falun Gong" and that it strongly emphasizes negative portrayals of the Chinese government and positive portrayals of Falun Gong. Per Zhao, Epoch portrays itself as neutral, independent, and public-interest oriented.[23]

Nick Couldry and James Curran wrote in 2003 that the paper represents a "major step in the evolution of Falun Gong-related alternative media", and may be part of a de facto media alliance with democracy activists in exile.[39]

Canadian scholar Clement Tong wrote[36][3][40][41][42] The Epoch Times "operates as a mouthpiece for" Falun Gong without an official statement of affiliation with the movement.[40]

In 2008, 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, said the newspaper is set up by Falun Gong practitioners with their own money.[43] He described The Epoch Times as wishing to be taken seriously as a global newspaper rather than being judged on the basis of its strong association with Falun Gong.[43][44] He 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."[45]

In 2009, Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, appeared at the newspaper's headquarters in Manhattan and called for the expansion of The Epoch Times to "become regular media".[7]

Former employees of The Epoch Times have noted the involvement of Falun Gong practitioners in the management and editorial process.[7] Three anonymous former employees said Epoch Times workers were encouraged to attend weekly "Fa study" sessions outside work hours to study the teachings of Li Hongzhi.[1]

The Epoch Times runs frequent promotional stories about the Shen Yun dance troupe that is affiliated with Falun Gong. The New Yorker's review of Shen Yun called The Epoch Times "the world’s foremost purveyor of Shen Yun content".[46]

In 2019, an NBC News investigative report suggested The Epoch Times's political coverage may be affected by Falun Gong believers' anticipation of a judgment day in which communists are sent to hell, and Falun Gong's allies are spared. Former Epoch Times employees told NBC News that President Donald Trump is viewed as a key anti-communist ally,[7] allegedly hastening that judgment day.[47]

Notable coverage

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.[48][49]

Editorial stance

The editorial stance of The Epoch Times is generally considered anti-communist, specifically opposing the Communist Party of China.[3] In recent years, the newspaper has also been noted for favorable coverage of the Trump administration,[7][14] the German far-right,[12][50] and the French far-right.[13]

The Epoch Times picks up mainstream newswire stories and in some places can resemble a community newspaper.[51] According to sociologist Zhao Yuezhi, "While mainstream newspapers 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."[23]

The newspaper counters what it considers to be Chinese Communist Party propaganda through its own opinion pieces and reporting. It covers causes and groups opposed to the CCP, including Falun Gong, dissidents, activists, and supporters of the Tibetan government-in-exile. The paper also reports on Falun Gong-related news, including the group's attempt to sue former Communist Party general secretary Jiang Zemin under civil legislation for "genocide", not covered by most other overseas Chinese-language newspapers.[34]

The Epoch Times is known for alleging conspiracies involving former Communist Party general secretary Jiang Zemin,[52] under whose administration Falun Gong was suppressed in China.

The newspaper is at odds with the Taiwanese-owned and U.S.-based Chinese language newspaper World Journal, accusing it of being a "megaphone for the evil Chinese Communist Party".[52]

According to a report by NBC News, The Epoch Times "generally stayed out of U.S. politics" before 2016, "unless they dovetailed with Chinese interests". Ben Hurley, a former Epoch Times employee until 2013, told NBC News that the newspaper was critical toward abortion and LGBT, and that Falun Gong practitioners "saw communism everywhere" including in internationalist figures like Hillary Clinton and Kofi Annan, "but there was more room for disagreements in the early days." Since 2016, according to NBC News, The Epoch Times has promoted favorable coverage of Donald Trump's campaign and presidency, and emphasized issues such as Islamic terrorism and illegal immigration to the United States. It has also emphasized "what the publication claims is a labyrinthian, global conspiracy led by [Hillary] Clinton and former President Barack Obama to tear down Trump".[7]

In September 2017, The German edition of the newspaper, The Epoch Times Deutschland, which became Web-only in 2012, was described by online magazine The China File as being aligned with the German far-right, and attractive to supporters of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and the anti-immigrant group Pegida.[12] Stefanie Albrecht, a reporter for the German broadcaster RTL who spent several days inside the Berlin office of The Epoch Times while investigating the far right, said that The Epoch Times staffers she met had no journalistic training and didn't check facts, trusting instead in the alternative sources they consulted.[13]

In France, The Epoch TImes gives "an unfettered platform to Jean-Marie Le Pen, the patriarch of the French far right, and his daughter, Marine, who leads the nationalist party her father founded," according to The New Republic.[13]

Editorials

Nine commentaries on the Communist Party

In November 2004, the Chinese version of The Epoch Times published a series of editorials titled "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party". The editorials argued that China would not be free or prosperous until it was rid of the party, which it said was at odds with China's cultural and spiritual values.[53]

Millions of copies of the articles circulated in China through e-mails, faxes, and underground printing houses, according to a guest opinion article in The Christian Science Monitor by Caylan Ford, a former staff writer for The Epoch Times. Ford wrote that the campaign differed from the 1989 and 2008 democracy movements in China by drawing on Buddhist and Daoist spirituality.[53]

In 2005, organizers of an associated campaign urging people to quit the Chinese Communist Party said that more than 2 million people had resigned.[54]

A report by the OpenNet Initiative said that 90% of websites mentioning the phrase "Nine Commentaries" were blocked in mainland China as of 2005.[55][56]

In 2012, a former People's Liberation Army air force officer testified to the United States Congressional-Executive Commission on China that he had been sentenced to four years of prison for distributing a "Nine Commentaries" DVD in Beijing.[57][non-primary source needed]

The "Tuidang" movement to quit the Chinese Communist Party was selected as the one of the top global events in 2011 by Russian economist Andrey Illarionov, who cited claims by The Epoch Times that over 100 million people had quit.[58]

According to China scholar David Ownby, the Nine Commentaries are a "condemnation of communism and a direct indictment of the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party's rule in China". While acknowledging the "unnecessary violence" the Chinese Communist Party has inflicted, Ownby finds that the lack of balance and nuance in tone and style makes the editorials resemble "anti-Communist propaganda written in Taiwan in the 1950s".[45]

Controversies

Promotion of Donald Trump, conspiracy theories, and disinformation

According to BuzzFeed News, The Epoch Times is known as "one of the staunchest defenders of Donald Trump's presidency".[14] The paper has championed Trump's Spygate conspiracy theory in its news coverage and advertising, and the Epoch Media Group's Edge of Wonder videos on YouTube have spread the far-right, pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory.[7]

An NBC News report found that the Edge of Wonder hosts have been creative director and chief photo editor at The Epoch Times, and that the newspaper promoted Edge of Wonder videos in dozens of Facebook posts through 2019.[7] The Edge of Wonder hosts, according to The Daily Dot, "embrace QAnon completely" even though "almost nothing QAnon has foretold has actually taken place".[59]

In a response to a BuzzFeed report about The Epoch Times' coverage of Trump, The Epoch Times editor-in-chief Jasper Fakkert wrote in a letter to readers: "We see the Trump administration's efforts to change socialist policies in America, as well as set policies to counter infiltration and subversion by China, as remarkable reversals from past policies, and sincere efforts that, if fully realized, will benefit America and the world as a whole."[14]

In September 2018, The Epoch Times photographer Samira Bouaou broke White House protocol and handed Trump a folder during an official event.[60]

As Facebook banned The Epoch Times from advertising, the newspaper shifted its spending to YouTube. The Epoch Times has spent more than $1 million on YouTube ads, some promoting conspiracy theories, The New York Times reported in February 2020.[1]

During the February 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucuses, The Epoch Times shared viral disinformation from the conservative group Judicial Watch that falsely alleged inflated voter rolls.[61] The claim, which went viral on Facebook, was debunked by fact checkers and the Iowa secretary of state.[62][63] A Harvard media expert quoted by NBC News said The Epoch Times employed a "classic disinformation tactic" known as "trading up the chain," in which false stories are repackaged and shared.[61]

Ads banned by Facebook

During a six month period in 2019, The Epoch Times spent more than $1.5 million on about 11,000 Facebook ads that NBC News said were "pro-Trump advertisements". NBC said the amount spent was more than any group except the Trump campaign itself.[7][16] Political ad spending on Facebook in April 2019 through an account called "Coverage of the Trump Presidency by The Epoch Times" exceeded any politician's spending except Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.[15][64] Journalist Judd Legum wrote in May 2019 that The Epoch Times ads were "boosting Donald Trump and floating conspiracy theories about Joe Biden".[15][64]

In August 2019, Facebook banned The Epoch Times from advertising on its platform, after finding that the newspaper broke Facebook's political transparency rules by publishing pro-Trump subscription ads through sockpuppet pages such as “Honest Paper” and “Pure American Journalism".[47][18] A Facebook representative told NBC: "Over the past year we removed accounts associated with The Epoch Times for violating our ad policies, including trying to get around our review systems." [47]

The Epoch Times publisher, Stephen Gregory, wrote in response that the paper didn't intend to violate Facebook's rules. The video ads, he wrote, "are overtly Epoch Times advertisements for our subscriptions,” and "discuss The Epoch Times’ editorial and feature content and encourage people to subscribe to our print newspaper".[47]

Removal of The BL from Facebook

In October 2019, the fact-checking website Snopes reported that The Epoch Times is closely linked to a large network of Facebook pages and groups called The BL (The Beauty of Life) that shares pro-Trump views and conspiracy theories such as QAnon. The BL has spent at least $510,698 on Facebook advertising. Hundreds of the ads were removed for violations of Facebook's advertising rules. The BL network of pages has 28 million followers on Facebook in total, according to Snopes. The editor-in-chief of The BL recently worked as editor-in-chief of The Epoch Times, and several other BL employees are listed as current or former employees of The Epoch Times. The BL is registered in Middletown, New York, to an address that also is registered to Falun Gong's Sound of Hope Radio Network and is associated with the YouTube series Beyond Science, but Snopes found "the outlet as a whole is literally the English-language edition of Epoch Times Vietnam".[65][66] Snopes found thatThe BL uses more than 300 fake Facebook profiles based in Vietnam and other countries, using names, stock photos and celebrity photos in their profiles to emulate Americans, to administer more than 150 pro-Trump Facebook groups amplifying its content.[66][67]

An unnamed representative of The BL wrote to Snopes that “The BL has NO connection with The Epoch Times," and a "few of our staff has job experience … working in The Epoch Times, but now they are working full time in The BL.” The Epoch Times’ publisher, Stephen Gregory, said “The Epoch Times is not affiliated with the BL.” [65]

In December 2019, Facebook announced it removed a large network of accounts, pages, and groups linked to The BL and Epoch Media Group for coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign actor. The network had 55 million followers on Facebook and Instagram, and $9.5 million had been spent on Facebook ads through its accounts.[68]

On December 20, 2019, The New York Times reported, in "Facebook Discovers Fakes That Show Evolution of Disinformation", that Facebook had deleted "hundreds of accounts with ties to the Epoch Media Group, parent company of the Falun Gong-related publication and conservative news outlet The Epoch Times" using fake profile photos that had been generated using artificial intelligence. The Atlantic Council Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) director Graham Brookie stated that the coordinated network of fake accounts demonstrated "an eerie, tech-enabled future of disinformation". Facebook's head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said, "What’s new here is that this is purportedly a U.S.-based media company leveraging foreign actors posing as Americans to push political content. We’ve seen it a lot with state actors in the past."[69][70]

COVID-19 misinformation

The Epoch Times is identified as spreading misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic in print and via social media including Facebook and YouTube.[71][72] It has promoted anti-China rhetoric and conspiracy theories around the coronavirus outbreak, for example through an 8-page special edition called "How the Chinese Communist Party Endangered the World", which was distributed unsolicited in April 2020 to mail customers in areas of USA, Canada, and Australia.[73][74] In the newspaper, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is known as the "CCP virus", and a commentary in the newspaper posed the question, "is the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan an accident occasioned by weaponizing the virus at that [Wuhan P4 virology] lab?"[71][73] The paper's editorial board also claimed that COVID-19 patients can be potentially be cured by "condemning the CCP".[26]

The misinformation tracker NewsGuard called the French page of The Epoch Times one of the "super-spreaders" of COVID-19 misinformation on Facebook, citing an Epoch Times article that suggested the virus was artificially created.[75][76]

A story in The Epoch Times on February 17, 2020, shared a map from the internet that falsely alleged massive sulfur dioxide releases from crematoriums during the COVID-19 pandemic in China, speculating that 14,000 bodies may have been burned.[77] A fact check by AFP reported that the map was a NASA forecast taken out of context.[77]

A widely viewed video released by The Epoch Times on April 7, 2020, was flagged by Facebook as “partly false" for “the unsupported hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 is a bioengineered virus released from a Wuhan research laboratory.” The video featured Judy Mikovits, an anti-vaccination activist.[78][79] The fact-checker Health Feedback said of the video that "several of its core scientific claims are false and its facts, even when accurate, are often presented in a misleading way."[72]

CBC incident and reactions

A story by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on April 29, 2020, reported that some Canadians were upset to receive a special edition of The Epoch Times that called COVID-19 the "CCP virus". Later the CBC retracted a headline on its story that had quoted a recipient saying the special edition was "racist and inflammatory", and the CBC also retracted a claim that The Epoch Times edition had concluded that COVID-19 was a bioweapon,[73] amidst accusations of bias against The Epoch Times.[80][81][82][83][84][85] An opinion column by David Matas and David Kilgour on April 30 in the Toronto Sun said that "Chinese Canadian dissidents are under attack, and the CBC has joined the pile-on", and said the CBC's report may have misled readers into thinking The Epoch Times was spreading anti-Asian sentiment.[86]

Assessments

Ming Xia, a political science professor at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, wrote in 2007 that 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".[87] In 2018 he described The Epoch Times staff as largely part-time and volunteer, and said they "do not follow the protocols professional journalists abide by".[60]

The misinformation tracker NewsGuard said The Epoch Times "fails to meet several basic standards of credibility and transparency".[11]

The Epoch Times has been criticized by some scholars for biases, particularly regarding the Chinese Communist Party and mainland China issues, as well as for being a "mouthpiece" of the Falun Gong movement.[36][3][41][37][30][38] James To, a New Zealand political scientist, described The Epoch Times as the "primary mouthpiece" of Falun Gong, writing that it "lacks credibility", despite the newspaper posing a "viable threat to the CCP" by publishing articles about the party's negative aspects.[88] In his book Blocked on Weibo: What Gets Suppressed on China's Version of Twitter and Why, University of Toronto research fellow Jason Q. Ng referred to the paper's coverage of mainland China issues as "heavily biased against the Communist Party" and thus its reportage "should be viewed skeptically".[89]

A 2018 report by conservative think-tank the Hoover Institution called The Epoch Times one of the few independent Chinese-language media outlets in the United States not taken over by businessmen sympathetic to the Chinese government. The report said that reports on China by The Epoch Times and other outlets affiliated with Falun Gong, which is banned from China, are "uneven."[25]

Seth Hettna wrote in The New Republic that The Epoch Times "has built a global propaganda machine, similar to Russia’s Sputnik or RT, that pushes a mix of alternative facts and conspiracy theories that has won it far-right acolytes around the world".[13]

Joan Donovan of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University called The Epoch Times "a known disinformation operation".[61]

Ben Collins of NBC News called The Epoch Times a "pro-Trump conspiracy website".[70]

The paper has also been lauded by some political commentators and media experts. Ethan Gutmann of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neoconservative think tank, has characterized The Epoch Times as a leader in political analysis of the Chinese regime, writing: "With the "Chinese Regime in Crisis" series, 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."[90]

Hong Kong Economic Journal’s former editor-in-chief and scholar Lian Yi-zheng [zh] argued that that while The Epoch Times's connections to Falun Gong and its organ harvesting claims are controversial, the paper have often been correct in its analysis of power plays in Beijing,[91] and that it often receives high level leaks from informants inside mainland China[verification needed].[92]

James Bettinger, a professor of Communications at Stanford University and the director of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships, said "Even if 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."[51] Orville Schell, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California, Berkeley, 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."[9]

In his 2008 book on Falun Gong, David Ownby wrote that The Epoch Times articles are "well written and interesting, if occasionally idiosyncratic in their coverage".[45][93][94] According to Ownby, the newspaper has been praised and also 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.[95]

Jiao Guobiao, a former Beijing University journalism professor who was dismissed after criticizing the 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".[3]

In 2010, The Epoch Times successfully defended its reporting in the Canadian court system,[96] when a publisher it had reported on, Crescent Chau of Les Presses Chinoises, sued for libel and lost at the Superior Court of Quebec.[97][98] In examining the case, John Gordon Miller, a Canadian journalist and media professor, noted that articles in question "appear to be thoroughly and professionally reported".[99][98]

Hayes Brown of Buzzfeed News called The Epoch Times "one of the staunchest defenders of Donald Trump's presidency".[14]

U.S. Representative Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona, called The Epoch Times "our favorite paper".[1]

Haifeng Huang, a professor of political science, said, "I'm not exactly clear why they have become such a major pro-Trump voice" but "part of it is perhaps because they regard President Trump as tough on the Chinese government and therefore a natural ally for them".[1]

The web-only, German edition of the paper, Epoch Times Deutschland, has been criticized by media analysts[100] for its favorable coverage of far right populist groups such as the Alternative for Germany and Pegida, both of which proclaim anti-immigrant views, and promotion of skepticism towards mainstream German media and politicians.[12] A German media report described the outlet, along with Sputnik News and Kopp Report, as a "favorite" of Pegida supporters, and found that its articles critical of immigration have been shared almost daily.[50]

A report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based think tank, said the German edition of The Epoch Times "primarily runs anti-West, anti-American and pro-Kremlin content – a high proportion of this content is based on unverified information."[13][101]

In December 2019, the English Wikipedia deprecated the English and Chinese online versions of The Epoch Times as an "unreliable source" to use as a reference in Wikipedia. The publication has been described as "an advocacy group for the Falun Gong, and... a biased or opinionated source that frequently publishes conspiracy theories".[102]

Awards

Between 2012 and 2013, four staff members at the paper received awards:

  • 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal — Canadian publisher Cindy Gu of The Epoch Times was one of about 60,000 recipients awarded this commemorative medal, which honors "significant contributions and achievements by Canadians".[103][104] She 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.[citation needed]
  • 2012 New York Press Association AwardThe 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 complementary 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."[105]
  • 2012 Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi AwardThe Epoch Times China reporter Matthew Robertson won this award in the category of Non-Deadline Reporting in newspapers with a circulation of less than 50,000 per day, for a series of articles he wrote on forced, live organ harvesting in China.[106]
  • 2013 Newswomen's Club AwardThe Epoch Times New York reporter Genevieve Belmaker won a Front Page Award from the Newswomen's Club of New York for reporting on the effects of Hurricane Sandy, in the category of newspapers with a circulation of less than 100,000 per day.[107]

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c d e Roose, Kevin (February 5, 2020). "Epoch Times, Punished by Facebook, Gets a New Megaphone on YouTube". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  2. ^ Riotta, Chris (December 23, 2019). "Pro-Trump news outlet used AI to create fake Facebook accounts pushing far-right stories, officials say". The Independent. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e Thornton, Patricia M. (2008). "Manufacturing Dissent in Transnational China". In Kevin J. O'Brien (ed.). Popular Protest in China. Harvard Contemporary China. 15. Harvard University Press. pp. 199–200. ISBN 9780674041585.
  4. ^ a b Tolentino, Jia. 2019. "Stepping into the Uncanny, Unsettling World of Shen Yun." The New Yorker. March 19, 2019. Online. Last accessed May 18, 2020.
  5. ^ Morais, Betsy (June 23, 2010). "The Epoch Times doesn't like to brag". Politico.
  6. ^ Lawrence, Susan V. (April 14, 2004). "Falun Gong Fields Media Weapons". Wall Street Journal.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins (August 20, 2019). "Trump, QAnon and an impending judgment day: Behind the Facebook-fueled rise of The Epoch Times". NBC News.
  8. ^ Thomas Lum (August 11, 2006). "China and Falun Gong" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 5, 2012.
  9. ^ a b Hua, Vanessa (December 18, 2005). "Dissident media linked to Falun Gong / Chinese-language print, broadcast outlets in U.S. are making waves". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 9, 2006.
  10. ^ Schworm, Peter (December 3, 2007). "Chinese-American activists decry China's communism". The Boston Globe.
  11. ^ a b c d "The Epoch Times" (PDF). NewsGuard. 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d Allen-Ebrahimian, Bethany (September 23, 2017). "The German Edition of Falun Gong's 'Epoch Times' Aligns with the Far Right". China File. Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society. Archived from the original on October 28, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Hettena, Seth (September 17, 2019). "The Obscure Newspaper Fueling the Far-Right in Europe". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
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