Protesters Accuse World Journal of Publishing Fake News About Petition

May 29, 2019 Updated: May 29, 2019

MILLBRAE, Calif.—San Francisco Chinatown residents showed up at the office of World Journal, a New York-based, Taiwanese-owned Chinese newspaper, on May 24 to protest a recent report by the paper.

The protesters said the report deviated from the facts, misled readers, and caused harm to the community. They held signs such as “World Journal’s Fake News Misled Readers” and “Protest Against World Journal’s Twisting Facts and Hurting People,” while standing in front of World Journal’s Millbrae office in the early afternoon.

The protesters said they are volunteers from the Coalition Against Naming After Rose Pak (CANARP).

CANARP’s mission is to prevent the central subway station in Chinatown from being named after the late Rose Pak, who was a well-known political power broker in San Francisco and had deep ties with communist China.

The protesters held signs written in Chinese asking World Journal and Huang Shaohua, the author of the controversial report, to make a public apology.

World Journal published a news report on May 17 questioning the factual basis of a list of signatures from about 400 San Francisco Chinatown businesses. The signatures were in support of using the name “Chinatown Station” instead of “Rose Pak Chinatown Station” for the new subway station, which is likely to open in December.

CANARP presented the list of signatures at the weekly meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on May 14 at City Hall.

The World Journal report’s title in Chinese read, “More Than 400 Businesses Sign the Petition? Chinatown Merchants Deny.”

The report stated that a World Journal reporter visited businesses in Chinatown on May 16 and found that most of the businesses in Chinatown denied that they had signed to support CANARP’s effort.

Rui Wang, one of the protesters, told The Epoch Times that the World Journal never made any effort to contact CANARP to ask how they had worked to collect the signatures. She questioned how the World Journal reporter could deny that the signatures were collected if the reporter did not know how the signatures were collected.

Abel Wang, a CANARP activist, said that although they said at the Board of Supervisors meeting on May 14 that they had collected more than 400 signatures, they did not formally submit the list of signatures to the Board until May 21.

He questioned how the World Journal reporter could have verified the signatures if the reporter did not know who had signed.

Ken Lo, president of World Journal, met and addressed the CANARP protesters shortly after the protest began.

CANARP said that 14 volunteers spent two weekends collecting the signatures, and they asked Lo how many businesses the World Journal reporter had visited.

Rui Wang told Lo that World Journal’s report stated that a Mrs. Guo from a Vietnamese restaurant said she did not sign, and the report used Guo’s words as an example to show that the restaurant businesses denied supporting CANARP’s effort.

However, Rui Wang showed Lo a signature of another person working at the same restaurant who signed the petition.

Abel Wang told Lo that World Journal’s report made it sound like the group of volunteers were deceiving people to get signatures, which had a significant negative impact on CANARP. He demanded an apology from the paper.

Lo said to the protesters that he would talk to his editors and reporters, and he would need to understand all the facts before he would know what to do.

As the $1.6 billion Central Subway project approaches its completion, three different names have been proposed for the station in Chinatown: Chinatown Station, Sun Yat-Sen (Chinatown) Station, and Rose Pak Chinatown Station.

Sun Yat-Sen was the founding father in mainland China of the Republic of China (also known as Taiwan). Sun built the first democratic republic nation in Asia, drawing his ideas from Abraham Lincoln and Confucius.

Few people have voiced opposition to the first two choices. Naming the station after Pak is the only one that has been controversial.

Those who oppose naming the station after Pak have said that their opposition is mainly because of Pak’s ties with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and because of the FBI’s investigations into Pak’s possible involvement in corruption.

Pak was infamous for defending China’s human rights crimes, including the Tiananmen Square Massacre and the CCP’s persecution of the spiritual group Falun Gong.

World Journal is one of the largest Chinese newspaper publications outside China. In recent years, there has been controversy over most Chinese-language media in the United States, as they have been accused of being penetrated by or under the influence of communist China.

The Hoover Institution recently published a report summarizing China’s penetration into U.S. media. The report, titled “Chinese Influence and American Interests,” states that the majority of the local Chinese-language media have built ties with China and have been penetrated by the Chinese regime.

The Hoover report stated: “World Journal was for years the premier Chinese-language paper in the United States. It, too, has softened its stance on the PRC in recent years.”

After the meeting between the CANARP protesters and Lo, The Epoch Times sent a follow-up email to Lo requesting the result of his decision on how to respond to the protesters. By the time this article is published, the World Journal’s investigation was still ongoing.