A disaster in the southern Chinese city of Nanjing in which scores if not hundreds of people died has become an occasion for China’s state-run media to try to discredit The Epoch Times. At issue is a photo mistakenly said to be of the Nanjing disaster that this newspaper’s Chinese edition published on its website.
“Xinhua and other state-run media wish to deceive the Chinese people in two ways in reporting on this photo,” said Pan Hongyi, deputy editor-in-chief of The Epoch Times.
“They want to divert attention from the large loss of life and the failure of the authorities to take responsibility for the disaster in Nanjing, while at the same time leading the Chinese people to distrust The Epoch Times. In fact, the photo was planted by the Chinese regime for this purpose,” Mr. Pan said.
On July 28, Epoch Times reporter Fang Xiao filed a story about a major explosion that had shaken a densely populated area of Nanjing. Fang’s report noted the discrepancy between the official death toll and that provided by several eyewitnesses and initial media reports.
Officials reported a death toll of 13, while the other sources gave estimates of between 79 and hundreds.
Published with Fang’s story was a photo that showed dozens of badly burned bodies.
The photo turned out to be a cropped photo of a disaster in Africa, not Nanjing. The uncropped photo was clearly not a scene from China: It shows a group of black Africans looking at burned bodies.
“We investigated the photo of the burned bodies and found that a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) agent cropped a picture from an oil tanker explosion incident in Africa, leaving only the dead bodies in the picture,” Mr. Pan said.
“The photo was sent to a netizen by the agent, who claimed it was from a worker at the explosion site. That netizen has been providing information to The Epoch Times for a few years and has been a trusted source. The netizen believed it came from the scene in Nanjing and passed it to The Epoch Times reporter, saying it was a photo from the explosion site,” he said.
“We found out the problem with the picture on July 29, removed the picture immediately, and informed other media outlets about the mistake,” Mr. Pan said.
CONTINUED on Page 2…