The murder of Xie Yining, the founder and chairman of the U.S.-based Chinese-language newspaper China Press, has caused widespread concern in the Chinese community. New details have emerged about Xie’s true identity— he was a special agent for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to a reader of the The Epoch Times.
Police found the body of Xie Yining, 58, on Nov. 16 inside the publication’s office in Alhambra, California where he was shot to death. Police recovered a handgun at the scene and arrested an employee identified as Chen Zhongqi, 56, on suspicion of murder.
Chen is currently held on $1 million bail. Police didn’t indicate a motive for the shooting.
An Epoch Times reader who wished to remain anonymous—“Mr. A”—recently divulged information about Xie’s true identity.
Mr. A was a reporter for a Chinese newspaper in Washington D.C. in the 1980s. He said Xie was a reporter for China News Service (CNS) at that time. Mr. A met Xie for the first time in Alberta, Canada where they reported on the 12th Universiade event—an international multi-sport event organized for university athletes.
Mr. A said that the first reporters of the CCP’s state-run Xinhua News Agency in Washington D.C. were a couple—both were special agents of the Intelligence Department of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Political Department (GPD). Since they were not familiar with the news business and did not do well with collecting information, China News Service decided to find a replacement.
“Around 1987, China News Service took a fancy to Xie Yining, who spoke Cantonese and English, and appointed him as the White House correspondent,” Mr. A said. “At the time, he was very young and graduated from the department of journalism at Renmin University.”
“The China News Service does not have that much money, so the People’s Liberation Army General Political Department covers their expenses.”
Mr. A said, “Xie showed up at many occasions as a journalist, but he was actually employed by the Intelligence Department.” “He had served as special agent for the CCP since 1986.”
“Later, Xie was transferred to China Press. After the June Fourth Incident (Tiananmen Square massacre) in 1989, the American people were very angry with the local pro-communist newspapers—The China Daily and the North American Overseas Chinese Daily. So the CCP supported the creation of an alternative media—China Press—in the United States on January 1990.”
Mr. A said that Xie’s second wife, Guo Xing, is a reporter for Phoenix Satellite TV in Los Angeles. “Phoenix Satellite TV is run by the Intelligence Department,” said Mr. A.
“There are many examples of bad news about people who carry out evil deeds for the CCP,” said Mr. A. “Another case is former China Daily reporter Li Xing who was in good health. But after she won an award for writing an article that slandered Falun Gong, she suddenly died of a heart attack in 2011.”
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a peaceful traditional Chinese meditation practice based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. In 1999, former Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin launched a nationwide persecution of its adherents, believing that the group’s popularity—which grew to 100 million by 1999, according to Western media outlets that quoted Chinese officials—would undermine the Party’s authority.
China Press Background—Close Ties to the CCP
China Press, better known as Qiao Bao in Mandarin Chinese, is a Chinese-language newspaper long known in the U.S. immigrant community for its pro-Beijing views and propensity to repeat Beijing’s propaganda on a wide range of issues.
Since the Chinese regime launched a nationwide persecution of the spiritual group Falun Gong in 1999, China Press has been among a number of overseas Chinese newspapers that repeated propaganda in mainland China’s state-run media, vilifying the meditation practice and its adherents. Meanwhile, Chinese media often repost China Press articles, such as one titled, “Overseas Chinese in Seattle support China’s sovereignty in the South China Sea,” in July 2016.
Many suspect that the newspaper is actually run by the Chinese regime.
On paper, the newspaper is under the umbrella of Rhythm Media Group, a California-registered firm founded in 2003 with several Chinese-language news outlets, a film production company, and a cultural center in its profile. But Xie’s background and a look into the company’s history indicate that it, in fact, has close ties to Beijing.
In 2001, the U.S. think tank Jamestown Foundation listed China Press as an overseas Chinese newspaper “directly controlled by the Chinese government.” But it was unclear which organ of the Chinese Communist Party directed it.
In 2006, China Press was among a list of several U.S.-based overseas outlets that signed a partnership agreement with China News Service, under a media consortium called U.S.-Asia Culture Media Corporation.
This “media corporation” is run by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, as claimed in a 2011 public exposé written by a former television host for Sinovision, another U.S. media company in the corporation. Wang Aibing wrote the complaint to expose corruption at her former workplace, noting that the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office ran the “media corporation” as an overseas operation. Wang filed her complaint to then-director of the office, seeking redress for her grievances.
While China Press is now owned by a private U.S. company, “the nature is the same,” said China analyst Heng He. Heng has observed China’s overseas media landscape for more than a decade.
He notes, for example, how China Press covered a series of incidents in New York City in 2008 involving local Falun Gong practitioners, who were physically attacked and harassed by aggressors in Flushing, Queens.
China Press’s allegedly defamatory depictions of Falun Gong adherents “were reprinted by Xinhua [state-run media], CCTV [state broadcaster], and Kaiwind,” Heng said, referring to a website run by the 610 Office, a secret police force created in 1999 to carry out the persecution of Falun Gong.
This March, the central authorities launched an internal restructuring that subsumed the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office—originally an office within China’s cabinet-like State Council—under the United Front Work Department, an organ of the Communist Party that carries out operations overseas to fulfill Beijing’s agenda.
This change meant “the Party now controls all propaganda-related offices,” Heng noted. The Overseas Chinese Affairs Office no longer had even a surface-level connection to China’s state affairs.
Epoch Times staff members Zhou Yuejun & Annie Wu contributed to this report.