UN Blocks Largest Independent Chinese News Network in US from Covering General Assembly

September 21, 2017 3:45 pm Last Updated: September 23, 2017 1:47 pm

The largest Chinese news network operating in the United States—and the only global media company producing Chinese-language content independent of the Chinese regime—is being blocked from covering the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

NTD Television reporter Lixin Yang applied for accreditation Sept. 1, expecting to hear back about his application within 48 hours, the timeframe described on the U.N. website, according to an NTD release.

But by the time the General Assembly began on Sept. 12, Yang had still not heard back. He continued making requests and on Sept. 18, the day before the start of the assembly’s most important event, the General Debate, Tal Mekel, Acting Chief, U.N. Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, told him the U.N. considered NTD an advocacy media.

Yang received that same message later that day in a boilerplate email.

“It’s outrageous for UNGA, an organization that is supposed to uphold freedom of expression, to deny NTD Television, a rare independent Chinese-language television network, access for so-called ‘advocacy’—especially when Chinese state media enjoy full accreditation,” said John Tang, CEO of NTD in a released statement.

“We certainly appreciate that the Chinese government might consider NTD’s reporting ‘advocacy.’ But this is the same regime that calls democracy advocates and religious believers ‘criminals,’ while preventing media from reporting on human rights abuses and public health disasters,” said Tang.

Lixin Yang, seen in this screen grab from a recent report from the White House in Washington, D.C., has been blocked from covering the United Nations General Assembly, possibly due to interference from the Chinese regime, says his employer, NTD Television. (Screenshot via NTD)
Lixin Yang reporting from the White House in Washington, D.C. (Screenshot via NTD)

NTD Television is a New York-based international news and entertainment media. It is part of Epoch Media Group along with The Epoch Times and other properties.

NTD ranks among the top 10 digital news and media properties in the world, according to global cross-platform web traffic.

It is also the only Chinese media operating on a global scale independently of the Chinese regime, which has invested heavily in extending the footprint of Chinese state media outlets like Xinhua, CCTV, and China Daily, into foreign markets around the world.

According to NTD, Yang has been accredited at the U.S. Congress, State Department, White House, European Union, and the United Nations in Geneva, and has filed hundreds of reports.

Yang is also a board member of the Press Club Brussels Europe, a member of the International Press Association, and a member of the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C.

“Given Mr. Yang’s extensive experience covering international meetings at the highest level, NTD can see no reason for this denial—except the Chinese government influencing this outcome,” reads the statement from NTD.

NTD has grown steadily in popularity since its launch in 2001. According to comScore, the network receives six times more U.S. unique visitors to its website than Chinese state news agency Xinhua, and 10 times more than Chinese state broadcaster CCTV (Chinese Central Television).

The U.S.-based news network has faced ongoing attempts by the Chinese regime to affect the station’s operations including advertising boycotts, cyber attacks, and harassment of contacts inside China, according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s May 2017 report.