One of the 2017 English-language NZ Herald articles reported that a retiree from China living in New Zealand had been robbed of his life savings. Three paragraphs in the article revealed that the man was a Falun Gong practitioner who had sought refuge in New Zealand to escape the CCP’s persecution. In the version of the story translated and edited for Chinese readers, all paragraphs about the pensioner being a Falun Gong practitioner were omitted.
The Chinese NZ Herald arose from a 2016 joint venture between NZ Herald owner New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) and the Chinese publication the Chinese Herald.
The Chinese NZ Herald carries the well-known NZ Herald branding on its website and WeChat channel, and runs stories from the Chinese Herald and other Chinese-language news sources, as well as translated stories from the English-language NZ Herald.
Stuff.co.nz, a New Zealand news website under Fairfax Media, also reported that another article in 2017 published by the Chinese NZ Herald had also omitted details and quotes that had been in the corresponding English article of the English-language NZ Herald. The news website reported that the article “was translated with several quotes from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and (Chinese politics professor Anne-Marie) Brady omitted.”
— Geoff Wade (@geoff_p_wade) January 15, 2019
The news website also noted that whilst the English-language NZ Herald had reported extensively about New Zealand academic Anne-Marie Brady’s work and the subsequent burglaries she suffered, “almost none of this reporting has been translated for the Chinese NZ Herald.”
Brady has been targeted by unknown actors ever since she published a research paper in September 2017 called Magic Weapons (pdf), which details how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plans to achieve worldwide influence and presents the CCP’s activities in New Zealand as a case study.
What this means is the Chinese Herald, the Chinese version of @NZHerald is following the Xinhua-line. On stories which affect China's State security, the #CCP requires Chinese media outlets–at home, & abroad –to use Xinhua News Service reporting. #nzpol #海外华文媒体融合
— Anne-Marie Brady (@Anne_MarieBrady) January 13, 2019
China researcher Daisy Lee told Stuff.co.nz that Chinese Herald owner Lili Wang had participated in state-run media workshops while in China. Lee said that at one point in the workshops, Wang had spoken about how overseas Chinese media could promote China’s One Belt One Road project.
The Epoch Times reached out to NZ Herald and the Chinese NZ Herald with questions on Jan. 14. The paper’s English editor said they would issue an email response but it has not been received at the time of publication. The Chinese NZ Herald’s editor had made assurances that they would publish an official announcement on their website within days. However, The Epoch Times has not sighted any such announcements as yet.
NZ Herald editor Shayne Currie told Stuff.co.nz that issues concerning the differences between the two articles had been raised to NZME in early 2018 and had since been addressed.
“We made clear to the Chinese NZ Herald that all articles from the NZ Herald must be fully and accurately translated, and we have been given assurances on this,” Currie told Stuff.co.nz.
“Operationally, it is over to the editor of the Chinese NZ Herald as to which NZ Herald articles he and his editorial team wish to translate. It is also the Chinese NZ Herald’s call as to which articles it sources from other agencies.”
All media outlets in China must have membership in the All-China Journalists Association (ACJA), a CCP-affiliated organization whose guidelines say journalists “must learn to master Marxist news values.” The majority of remaining overseas Chinese media organizations are also members of ACJA.
“Almost all media in China is either state-run or self-censors to avoid punishment from the government,” stuff.co.nz reported.
The Epoch Times’s Chinese paper, Dajiyuan, is not a member of ACJA. The Epoch Times printed its first Chinese edition newspaper in May 2000 in New York City. Some of their reporters in China were subsequently jailed, with some suffering severe torture for their journalism. Yet despite the risks, the paper continues to provide uncensored coverage of events in China and local editions published by regional bureaus soon followed. Today, The Epoch Times is the largest Chinese-language newspaper outside of Mainland China and Taiwan.
This story is subject to further updates.