The Demise of Watchdog Journalism in China

Helen Gao
New York Times
As unfettered capitalism reached a fever pitch in China in the early 2000s, a boom in investigative journalism was hailed as the most salient example of growing citizen power.

Sinica Podcast

06.12.17

How Does Investigative Reporting Happen in China?

Kaiser Kuo & Li Xin from Sinica Podcast
Li Xin is the Managing Director of Caixin Global, the English-language arm of China’s most authoritative financial news source, Caixin. For over 10 years, she has worked closely with the Editor-in-Chief of Caixin, Hu Shuli, whose famously fearless...

Books

03.08.17

The Killing Wind

Tan Hecheng, translated by Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian
Over the course of 66 days in 1967, more than 4,000 “class enemies”—including young children and the elderly—were murdered in Daoxian, a county in China’s Hunan province. The killings spread to surrounding counties, resulting in a combined death toll of more than 9,000. Commonly known as the Daoxian massacre, the killings were one of many acts of so-called mass dictatorship and armed factional conflict that rocked China during the Cultural Revolution. However, in spite of the scope and brutality of the killings, there are few detailed accounts of mass killings in China’s countryside during the Cultural Revolution’s most tumultuous years.Years after the massacre, journalist Tan Hecheng was sent to Daoxian to report on an official investigation into the killings. Tan was prevented from publishing his findings in China, but in 2010, he published the Chinese edition of The Killing Wind in Hong Kong. Tan’s first-hand investigation of the atrocities, accumulated over the course of more than 20 years, blends his research with the recollections of survivors to provide a vivid account exploring how and why the massacre took place and describing its aftermath. Dispelling the heroic aura of class struggle, Tan reveals that most of the Daoxian massacre’s victims were hard-working, peaceful members of the rural middle class blacklisted as landlords or rich peasants. Tan also describes how political pressure and brainwashing turned ordinary people into heartless killing machines.More than a catalog of horrors, The Killing Wind is also a poignant meditation on memory, moral culpability, and the failure of the Chinese government to come to terms with the crimes of the Maoist era. By painting a detailed portrait of this massacre, Tan makes a broader argument about the long-term consequences of the Cultural Revolution, one of the most violent political movements of the twentieth century. A compelling testament to the victims and survivors of the Daoxian massacre, The Killing Wind is a monument to historical truth—one that fills an immense gap in our understanding of the Mao era, the Cultural Revolution, and the status of truth in contemporary China. —Oxford University Press{chop}

When the Chinese Were Unspeakable

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
The Xiao River rushes deep and clear out of the mountains of southern China into a narrow plain of paddies and villages. At first little more than an angry stream, it begins to meander and grow as the basin’s 63 other creeks and brooks flow into it...

China’s Hidden Massacres: An Interview with Tan Hecheng

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Tan Hecheng might seem an unlikely person to expose one of the most shocking crimes of the Chinese Communist Party. A congenial 67-year-old who spent most of his life in southern Hunan province away from the seats of power, Tan is no dissident. In...

Conversation

04.06.16

China in the Panama Papers

Andrew J. Nathan, Bill Bishop & more
The overseas wealth of several relatives of senior Chinese leaders has come to light in an International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) report, part of the analysis by a group of media outlets of more than 11 million documents leaked...

Media

01.29.16

‘I Don't Want to Think About Activating Change’

Eric Fish from Asia Blog
In 2012, The New York Times published a groundbreaking investigative report showing that the family of Wen Jiabao, China’s then-prime minister, possessed wealth in excess of $2.7 billion. In response, the Chinese government blocked the Times’...

Media

11.20.15

Pulitzer’s ‘Lookout on the Bridge’ vs. China’s ‘News Ethics Committees’

David Bandurski
In a recent harangue on the imperative of better journalism, a website run by the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department tore a jagged page from the wisdom of American newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer: “A journalist is the...

‘Exiled’ Chinese Journalist Leaks Huge List of Censored Terms

Vivienne Zeng
Hong Kong Free Press
A Chinese journalist who is now living in exile in India has handed a large list of what he says are sensitive terms censored in China to Radio Free Asia, a US-backed broadcaster.

Reporter Honored for Clearing Dead Man’s Name

Ma Chi
China Daily
Hugjiltu, a man of Mongolian ethnicity, was sentenced to death for rape and murder in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia autonomous region, in 1996. The 18-year-old was executed 62 days after being charged, despite doubts about the evidence...

In China, Blunt Talk to Reporters on Access

Ravi Somaiya
New York Times
Mr. Xi’s comments come as several journalists for The New York Times and other news organizations have been forced to cover the country from outside its borders, after producing articles that were embarrassing for the Chinese leadership.

Caixin Media

05.27.14

Threats to Anonymous Sources Shake Chinese Journalism

Courts in the capital are mulling over what's being described as the first legal attack against the use of anonymous sources in news reports published by the Chinese media.The charges leveled against the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekend...

A Dream Deferred

Phelim Kine
Foreign Policy
The challenge the ICIJ expose poses to Xi's reputation as an anti-corruption crusader, is a vindication of Xu's advocacy. ...

Why China Needs to Rethink the Way It Treats the Foreign Press

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
A new report on elite wealth by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists suggests Beijing may need to change its whack-a-mole strategy of removing offending reporters one by one.

Investigative Stories Delve Into the Use of Offshore Companies by Chinese

Edward Wong
New York Times
This year's first big China investigative story has come from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists...

“Chinaleaks” Stories Censored in Mainland China

Michael Hudson, Marina Walker Guevara,...
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
Chinese authorities blocked online access to news reports exposing the secrecy-cloaked offshore holdings of China's political and financial elites...

Report Says China’s Elite Use Offshore Companies

Andrew Jacobs, David Barboza
New York Times
The report names many of China's wealthiest citizens, as well as relatives of Xi Jinping, Wen Jiabao, and descendants of the CCP's founders...

China’s Scandal-Torn Oil Industry Embraces Tax Havens

Alexa Olesen, Michael Hudson
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
“If there’s a problem you can just close the company, walk away and deny you ever had anything to do with it.”

Report Links Chinese Elite to Offshore Tax Havens

Joe McDonald
Associated Press
Attention is on President Xi Jinping's family and its wealth at a time when Xi has emphasized fighting corruption...

More Than Half of China’s Most Powerful Officials Have Links to Tax Havens. Now What?

Heather Timmons
Quartz
Relatively loose cencorship of the recent offshore tax reports has some thinking that the CCP is ready to talk. 

ICIJ Offshore Records Reveal Tax Haven Clients in China, Hong Kong

Marina Walker Guevara, Gerard Ryle,...
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
More than 50 reporting partners in Europe, North America, Asia and other regions investigated 2.5 million leaked files.

How We Did Offshore Leaks China

Marina Walker Guevara
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
Chinese, European and Western journalists worked together to successfully leak a highly sensitive and secretive story.

China's Princelings Storing Riches in Caribbean Offshore Haven

James Ball, Guardian US Interactive Team
Guardian
The documents also disclose the central role of major Western banks and accountancy firms who acted as middlemen. 

Caixin Media

11.18.13

What Do Investigative Reporters Do?

With the recent Chen Yongzhou scandal, many have called for an “investigation” into the investigative reporting business.I apply the term “investigative reporters” to those that often wade into the deeper, uncharted waters of the media’s realm. I...

Conversation

11.12.13

Spiked in China?

John Garnaut, Sidney Rittenberg & more
Last weekend, The New York Times and later, The Financial Times reported that, according to Bloomberg News employees, Bloomberg editor in chief Matthew Winkler informed reporters by telephone on October...

Newspaper Publishes Front-Page Call for Journalist’s Release

Oiwan Lam
Global Voices
A Guangzhou-based newspaper, the New Express, published a front-page editorial statement urging the Security Bureau of Hunan Province to release their investigative reporter Chen Yongzhou who was arrested for criminal...