No More Chinese Communist Party

July 9, 2010

Is Beijing turning the Chinese-Canadian media into a platform for its own demagoguery and propaganda?

Filed under: Uncategorized — carryanne @ 11:34 pm
Tags: ,

Macleans.ca: Maybe Crescent Chau thought the case was a slam dunk. The Montreal newspaperman had sued for defamation two years ago after a rival paper, the Epoch Times, described him in print as an “agent” of the People’s Republic of China. Few libel claims prove worth the time and money they take to get to trial. But Chau, who publishes the Chinese-language weekly La Presse Chinoise, followed this one through to its bitter end. The decision, when it finally landed in April, cannot have pleased him.

Far from admonishing the Epoch Times for its characterization of Chau as a stooge for Beijing, Justice Catherine Mandeville of the Quebec Superior Court all but confirmed the thesis, highlighting Chau’s close ties with Beijing’s propaganda apparatus, along with evidence suggesting his paper had gotten money from the Chinese government.

The ruling was an unqualified win for the Epoch Times, and the Falun Gong spiritual movement with which the paper is closely allied. But it has also lent weight to fears about Beijing’s growing involvement in Chinese-language media in North America, which seem increasingly willing to wage battles on the mother country’s behalf. The offending story was prompted by a series of four “special sections” Chau had published in early 2002 that parroted the Chinese Communist party’s talking points on Falun Gong, accusing practitioners of bestiality, vampirism and a wide variety of crimes. Over the course of two months, Chau distributed some 100,000 copies of each issue across Canada, while People’s Daily, the official state organ, picked them up to be run in mainland China. All of it raised questions as to who had funded the screeds. Tartly noting that La Presse Chinoise normally circulates 4,000 copies in Montreal only—and that the sections ran without advertising—Justice Mandeville described Chau’s financial backing as “nebulous at best.”

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