The Epoch Times: Wikis


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The Epoch Times
The Front Page of - The Epoch Times - newspaper.jpg
Type International newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Founded 2000
Political alignment anti-Chinese Communist Party
Language mainly Chinese and English
Headquarters New York,
 United States
Circulation 1.4 million (unaudited)
Official website The Epoch Times

The Epoch Times (traditional Chinese: 大紀元simplified Chinese: 大纪元pinyin: Dàjìyuán) is a multi-language, international newspaper, originally published in Chinese. The paper has been in publication since May 2000. It was founded by practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline, after the government of the People's Republic of China banned the movement in 1999.[1][2]

Its stated focus is coverage of China and human rights issues, but much of its content is general-interest.[3][4][5] The newspaper is consistently critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and policies of the Chinese government. In 2004, the newspaper published the "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party", a full-blown attack on China's ruling regime. The newspaper lends abundant coverage to Falun Gong-related causes, and is also sympathetic to other forces opposed to the Chinese government, including dissidents, activists, and supporters of the Tibetan government-in-exile. The Epoch Times Website also hosts a "CCP Renunciations" service, encouraging people to "erase the beastly brand" and publicly quit the Communist Party of China and related organizations. The Chinese government blocks those in mainland China from accessing the Epoch Times website.[6]

Headquartered in New York City, the newspaper has local bureaux and a network of local reporters throughout the world. It is sold and also distributed free-of-charge in roughly 30 countries worldwide, and maintains editions in English, Chinese, nine other languages in print, and 17 on the web.



According to the newspaper itself, The Epoch Times was founded in New York in May 2000, following the arrest of a small circle of journalists in China in 2000.[7] Li Hongzhi said that The Epoch Times "was established by Dafa disciples for validating the Fa."[8] Professor David Ownby, a recognised expert on Falun Gong, said that practitioners have become "somewhat paranoid" of being ill-treated by journalists during the last decade, "so they decided to publish a newspaper by themselves to publicize their beliefs..."[9]

On August 12, 2002, The Epoch Times launched its first daily in Washington, D.C.[citation needed] In August 2004, an English language edition of The Epoch Times was launched in Manhattan, as well as Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, and several other cities.[10] It is also distributed in Chicago and San Diego.[11] The paper has associated media services, including the television station New Tang Dynasty TV, the radio station Sound of Hope, which together with The Epoch Times form the Epoch media group. Minghui (Clear Wisdom) and Reminbao are two other news sources used by few if any other media, and that help contribute stories from a Falun Gong perspective.[12] The journal is printed by The Epoch Press Inc., another company owned and run by practitioners.[13]

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2004 that "Where the paper and [NTDTV] are controversial is in their unwillingness to identify themselves as having any association with the group, despite ample evidence to the contrary. " It revealed that tax records showed the chairman of the paper's board, Kangang Xu, was a top Falun Gong spokesman.[14] In 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the boards and reporting staffs are composed of Falun Gong practitioners. Furthermore, Levi Browde, a corporate director of the English-language edition of The Epoch Times, was identified as the New York spokesman for Falun Gong and for the Falun Dafa Information Center.[3] A 2006 report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service listed the newspaper as a Falun Gong affiliated media source.[5]


Epoch Times on sale in Manhattan

Epoch Times pursues a native-language strategy to an extreme through international expansion.[15] As of April 2006, The Epoch Times was available in ten languages for its print editions and in 17 languages on the Internet.[16] English editions were distributed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. German and French editions were launched in late 2004. There were two language editions published in Tokyo, Japan: the Chinese language edition, launched in January 2001, and the Japanese language edition, launched in 2005.[17] In addition, an Hebrew edition of the Epoch Times is available in Israel since 2005.

Yuezhi Zhao, Assistant Professor of Communication at Simon Fraser University, Canada, wrote in 2003 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."[18] Its circulation is unaudited, and it claims a circulation of 100,000 in the United States, and more than 1 million worldwide in 2009.[15]

Coverage and focus

Typically a 16-page broadsheet, the Epoch Times also runs mainstream newswire stories and can resemble a community newspaper.[19] 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."[18]

The English edition represents itself as a general-interest newspaper that, although it maintains a large amount of China-related content, offers twelve other sections, including travel, science, sports, and regional and international news.


Political stance

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 highly critical of the Chinese government, particularly in its tone and commentaries towards the Communist Party. The paper is unique in giving a large amount of attention to Falun Gong's campaigns, particularly their attempt to sue former Chinese President Jiang Zemin under civil legislation for genocide.[20] However the case failed to attract major media attention outside of the newspaper, and later the paper's stance shifted from being anti-Jiang Zemin to anti-CCP. As reported by the paper itself, Chinese journalists relayed stories overseas of alleged human rights abuses, infringements on civil liberties and corruption in the Communist Party of China (CPC), among others.[7] 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 denied ties to the Falun Gong movement.[3]

The paper also counters what it considers to be CCP propaganda through its own opinion pieces. The paper is also very vocal in supporting dissidents, pro-independence Taiwanese, American conservatives and all other traditional opponents of the CCP.

Reporting style

The paper styles itself as specializing in "investigative reporting" in China.

Throughout March 2006, the newspaper published a series of articles containing allegations by a number of anonymous individuals claiming to be eyewitnesses to organ harvesting in Sujiatun Hospital and beyond, labelling it "Sujiatun Concentration Camp".[21] The Chinese-language version of an article went further, alleging that numerous overseas Chinese embassies also double as organ harvesting centers, to which prisoners are exported[22][23]. Human rights activist Harry Wu sent investigators to the Sujiatun scene three days after the story surfaced, and found no evidence for the alleged concentration camp.[24] He dismissed the claims as merely hearsay from two witnesses: "No pictures, no witnesses, no paperwork, no detailed information at all, nothing." Wu concluded that the Sujiatun story was a fabrication.[25][26] Investigations by representatives of the United States and Phoenix TV reached similar conclusions.[27][28]

In 2008, The Epoch Times released articles claiming that the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake were caused by nuclear explosions detonated by the Chinese military.[29][30] In addition, it has advanced claims that footage of the Shenzhou 7 spacewalk was in fact filmed underwater instead of in space to act as a distraction to the 2008 Chinese milk scandal.[31] The Epoch Times also claimed to have discovered Flushing, Queens to be a Communist base of operations. The main stores, it alleged, were all owned and purchased by the Chinese Communist Party, the employees of these stores and restaurants actually being special Communist agents secretly organized to attack Falun Gong. Finally, the Times alleges that pedestrians and passers-by who expressed disapproval of or confronted members of a May 17, 2008 Falun Gong rally were in fact actors and agents hired by the Chinese Communist Party. [32] (The Falun Gong rally was organized to express approval of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake as divine retribution against the Chinese Communist Party).[33][34].

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.[35] The newspaper alleges 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."[36] The Epoch Times also published an 8-page anti-Liu "special edition", and also featured on its website an entire section devoted to anti-Liu coverage, though the paper maintains that it is non-partisan.[37] The New York Observer notes that the anti-Liu campaign began in 2008, after a dispute between Liu and a Falun Gong practitioner demonstrating in his electoral district (Flushing).[38]

The Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party


In November 2004, the Chinese version of The Epoch Times published and heavily promoted a series of editorials and a booklet entitled "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" (traditional Chinese: 九評共產黨; simplified Chinese: 九评共产党; ). The editorials purport to give an alternate exposé of the CCP through its history, from its ascent to power under Mao Zedong to its present-day form, as well as a condemnation of communism in all of its forms. In it the CCP was criticized as an illegitimate institution who employed underhanded tactics to gain power. Later in the series, however, the direction seems to shift between the CCP itself, its leaders, and allots an entire chapter on the "personal jealousy of Jiang Zemin" and his attacks on Falun Gong. In addition, the commentaries allege that the CCP "destroyed traditional Chinese culture" and brands the CCP as an "evil cult".[39] The Nine Commentaries won the “Asian American Issues - Online” category of the AAJA National Awards at the 2005 Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) convention held in August 2005.[40][41] The "Commentaries" were subsequently translated into more than 30 other languages.[42]

In December 2005, the author of the "Nine Commentaries" was identified as Zheng Peichun, a Chinese dissident, who was arrested on the charge of crimes against the state and was sentenced to seven years imprisonment.[43] The paper has published a follow-up entitled the The Real Story of Jiang Zemin, a piece highly critical of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin.[44]

CCP renunciations

"Support 8.0 Million Chinese Quit Chinese Communist Party"; Paris, Place d'Italie, February 26, 2006.

The Epoch Times claims that the publication of the "Commentaries" and its subsequent call to CCP members to "erase the beastly brand" has caused more than 57 million CCP members to resign as of July 2009.[45] At their Chinese language renunciation website,[46] it was stated that "the evils of the Communist Cult will be punished by God at Judgment Day", and called on members of the CCP to burn Communist memorabilia.

This campaign calling for the renunciations of CCP members is also called the "Three Renouncements" (三退) since it also encourages members of the two major subordinating organizations of the CCP, the Communist Youth League and the Young Pioneers of China, to renounce their memberships. However, many participants renounce their membership of the YP and CYL even though they exceed the age limits of these organizations and are no longer members. For example, the founder of Falun Gong, Li Hongzhi renounced his membership of CYL in 2005 at the age of 54 and was included in the tally.[47] These renunciations are not recognized as valid and official by the CCP, as they are not conducted through the proper channels via the party.[48]

Fei Liangyong, Chairman of the Democratic China Front and senior member of Chinese Free Culture Movement, mentioned that the Three Renouncements campaign was indeed initiated by Falun Gong in his speeches and his various interviews with Falun Gong related media such as Mingjian and Huiyuan.[49]

At the English language version of the renunciation website, the cumulative count of people who have allegedly quit the CCP appears as a sidebar to the Internet form which captures English language denunciations of the CCP.[50]


Independent assessments

Dr. Liu Kang, professor of Chinese Cultural Studies at Duke University, stated in 2006 that the paper did not adhere to basic journalistic standards of professionalism and objectivity, and is "not viewed as an independent objective news media".[19] Liu remarked that the newspaper is seen by the overseas Chinese community as "Falun Gong propaganda" and said the newspaper's credibility as media professionals has been damaged by Wang Wenyi,[19] who used her Epoch Times journalist pass to gain access to a White House lawn press briefing where she hurled insults at Chinese President Hu Jintao.[51] President George W. Bush apologized to the Chinese for the incident.[52] In turn, The Epoch Times apologized to the U.S. President,[53] whilst denying any direct ties to, or funding from, Falun Gong.[19]

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."[3] According to David Ownby, speaking to Radio Canada, at least the French version of the journal "so lacking in balanced reporting that it resembles the anti-communist propaganda from Taiwan in the 1950s."[54] 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."[19]

According to Maria H. Chang of the University of Nevada, the paper was founded based on the socio-political environment in China. She argues that for the organization to survive, Falun Gong has to create organisations that are publicly unaffiliated with it, such as the Epoch Times. Chang states that such strategies are counterproductive in democratic societies, and that "being secretive and deceptive will just play into the image they're a kooky group with something to hide." [55]

Awards and recognition

In May 2005, Die Neue Epoche, the German 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."[56] In August 2005, the English version of the paper was awarded the top award in the category "Asian American Issues - Online" by the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA).[11][57] In September 2005, the Chinese version of the paper was recognized during the National Ethnomedia Week 2005 in Canada as a "strong defender of human rights and free democratic values."[58]

Censorship controversy

Falun Gong practitioners were criticised by Harbinder Singh Sewak, publisher of the Asian Pacific Post, for their censorship when the Epoch Press stopped the printing of its January 8, 2009 edition allegedly because of a negative review of the Divine Performing Arts.[13] The president of the print company, Frank Cui, a practitioner, insisted on the removal of quotes from Chinese officials before he would print; the Post was forced to comply to meet deadlines. Cui said " reporters feel that they must 'balance' stories about Falun Gong or events they are involved in by adding the bad words or opinions from the [Chinese Communist Party], but in my feeling, between victim and perpetrator there can never be any neutrality or balance." Singh criticised the hypocrisy,[13] and alleged unlawful interference with economic interests, including breach of contract and deceit.[59] Lawyers representing Falun Dafa denied any association with the actions of Frank Cui.[59]



  1. ^ China's Campaign Against Falungong, Human Rights Watch
  2. ^ China uses Rule of Law to Crackdown on Falun Gong, Human Rights Watch
  3. ^ a b c d "Dissident media linked to Falun Gong / Chinese-language print, broadcast outlets in U.S. are making waves". San Francisco Chronicle. December 18, 2005. Retrieved 2006-12-09. 
  4. ^ Peter Schworm (December 3, 2007). "Chinese-American activists decry China's communism". The Boston Globe. 
  5. ^ a b Thomas Lum (August 11, 2006). "China and Falun Gong". Congressional Research Service. 
  6. ^ "Reporters sans frontières - China". Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  7. ^ a b The Epoch Times, "About Us". Retrieved July 1, 2006.
  8. ^ "Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005 (Q&A portion)". Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  9. ^ ibid Radio Canada ombudsman report, Pg10
  10. ^ "The Epoch Times - Advertising with a corporate social responsibility". Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  11. ^ a b Michael Miner (October 14, 2005). "Down With the Chinese Tyrants! Chicago's latest free weekly has a simple editorial message". Chicago Reader. 
  12. ^ "明见(Mingjian)". 2005-03-23. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  13. ^ a b c Mata Press Service, "Punjabi Publisher fights for press freedom in BC" South Asian Post, March 2009
  14. ^ Susan V. Lawrence (April 14, 2004). "Falun Gong Adds Media Weapons In Struggle With China's Rulers". Wall Street Journal (Eastern edition): p. B.2I. 
  15. ^ a b "Annual Report on American Journalism". State of the News Media. 2009. 
  16. ^ "Epoch Times has 17 Languages on the Web". Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  17. ^ "大紀元時報−日本". Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  18. ^ a b Zhao, Yuezhi, "Falun Gong, Identity, and the Struggle over Meaning Inside and Outside China", pp 209-223 in Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in a Networked World, edited by Nick Couldry and James Curran (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003)
  19. ^ a b c d e Eugenia Chien, "Falun Gong-Linked Media Venture Makes Waves, Raises Questions", New America Media, News Analysis, May 16, 2006
  20. ^ "Global Coalition to Bring Jiang to Justice". Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  21. ^ Worse Than Any Nightmare—Journalist Quits China to Expose Concentration Camp Horrors and Bird Flu Coverup, Epoch Times, March 10, 2006
  22. ^ "军医披露中共盗卖法轮功器官官方流程". April 4, 2006. Retrieved February 10, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Dissecting An Unfair and Unbalanced Report". May 9, 2006. Retrieved February 10, 2010. 
  24. ^ Wu Hongda's Statement on the Sujiatun Concentration Camp: My Knowledge and Experience with the Falun Gong media reporting on the Sujiatun Concentration Camp problem, Zonaeuropa, July 18, 2006
  25. ^ Frank Stirk, Canadians probe Chinese organ harvesting claims, Canadian Christianity
  26. ^ Glen McGregor, "Inside China's 'crematorium'", The Ottawa Citizen, November 24, 2007
  27. ^ "U.S. Finds No Evidence of Alleged Concentration Camp in China". Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  28. ^ "The truth behind the so-called "Falun Gong practitioner concentration camp"". Phoenix TV. 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  29. ^ "Epoch Times | Nuclear Explosion Occurred Near Epicenter of the Sichuan Earthquake, Expert Says". 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  30. ^ "Earthquake Destroyed China's Largest Military Armory, Says Source". Epoch Times. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  31. ^ "Chinese Space Walk Filmed in Water, Say Chinese Bloggers". Epoch Times. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  32. ^ "Communist Base of Operations Revealed in Flushing, New York". Epoch Times. Jun 24, 2008. Retrieved February 10, 2010. 
  33. ^ [ "對峙第4天 法輪功標語牌被砸 劉醇逸出面壓不住 憤怒口號淹沒「大聲公」"]. Ming Pao. May 21, 2008. Retrieved February 10, 2010. 
  34. ^ "(English translation) The Flushing Face-Off". May 21, 2008. Retrieved February 10, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Chinese Communist Party Subverts Democracies and Rights Abroad". Epoch Times. 2009-09-10. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  36. ^ "Editor's Note on Coverage of John Liu: Uncovering a hidden threat". September 10, 2009. 
  37. ^ "John Liu and the United Front". Epoch Times.,com_ettopic/topicid,57/. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  38. ^ The New York Observer: Who Hates John Liu?
  39. ^ The Epoch Times Dec 26, 2004 (2004-12-26). "Part 8: On How the Chinese Communist Party Is an Evil Cult". Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  40. ^ "Programs : Awards : AAJA NATIONAL AWARDS 1989 - 2006". AAJA. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  41. ^ "The Epoch Times | "Nine Commentaries" Wins National Journalism Award in U.S". 2005-08-19. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  42. ^ "Translations of the Nine Commentaries". 2004-12-13. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  43. ^ "郑贻春:我就是《九评共产党》的作者 - 大纪元记者冯长乐". 2005-12-21. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  44. ^ The Epoch Times Editorial Board Aug 17, 2005 (2005-08-17). "Epoch Times: The Real Story of Jiang Zemin". Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  45. ^ Hurley, Ben (July 24, 2009). Chinese People Saying ‘No’ to Communist Party. The Epoch Times.
  46. ^ "退党声明". Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  47. ^ Epoch Times (January 12, 2005) 退党声明 retrieved May 21, 2007
  48. ^ "中国共产党章程". Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  49. ^ 明见(Mingjian) (April 8, 2007) 费良勇:在中国自由文化运动2007年特别精神信仰奖颁奖典礼上的演讲 retrieved May 21, 2007
  50. ^ Official site of the denunciation
  51. ^ Kathy Chen (November 15, 2007). "Chinese Dissidents Take On Beijing Via Media Empire". The Wall Street Journal. 
  52. ^ "Bush presses China over currency". BBC News. April 21, 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-20. 
  53. ^ Karlyn Barker and Lena H. Sun (April 22, 2006). "Falun Gong Activist Defiant After Arrest". Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-05-20. 
  54. ^ ibid Radio Canada ombudsman report, Pg10: "According to Professor Ownby, the newspaper La Grande Époque, founded by Falun Gong practitioners, is so lacking in balanced reporting that it resembles the anti-communist propaganda from Taiwan in the 1950s."
  55. ^ The gospel truth: Falun Gong, Sunday Star Times, March 2, 2008
  56. ^ "The Epoch Times Wins Prize for Human Rights Reporting". 2006-05-10. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  57. ^ "Nine Commentaries" Wins National Journalism Award in U.S.". The Epoch Times. August 15, 2005. 
  58. ^ "nepm". Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  59. ^ a b Elaine O'Connor, Paper sues former printer, The Province, March 26, 2009

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