Date
18 December 2017
New Yorker journalist Peter Hessler has accused China Daily of fabricating an opinion piece published under his byline. Photo: MailOnline/MacArthur Foundation
New Yorker journalist Peter Hessler has accused China Daily of fabricating an opinion piece published under his byline. Photo: MailOnline/MacArthur Foundation

US journalist says China Daily faked editorial under his byline

A journalist working for New Yorker magazine has claimed that the China Daily newspaper faked an editorial under his byline after interviewing him.

Peter Hessler, who formerly reported from China but is now based in Egypt, wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday that he didn’t write an article posted on China Daily’s website a day earlier titled “US observer: Comparing Egypt with China”, Associated Press reported.

Hessler said he merely spoke to a China Daily reporter, who asked him to compare China with Egypt. Following that conversation, the newspaper published an op-ed under his byline, taking his remarks out of context, Hessler said.

The editorial repeats Communist Party talking points, lauding China’s stability and education system while counseling that any changes in China are “likely to be subtle, incremental, and coming from the top”, AP noted.

Hessler wrote on Facebook that he was asked mainly about his reflections on the past year and that the piece misrepresented his larger points.

“It omitted crucial parts, including the most important point: that I believe it’s harder to make a political change in China, where the system is deeper rooted than in Egypt, and thus the flaws are also more deeply rooted,” Hessler wrote.

“I said that this is the reason why the current anti-corruption campaign will be a failure, because China is not addressing its systemic flaws.”

Following Hessler’s Facebook post, China Daily has removed the editorial from its English website, but Chinese translations are available in state media.

Hessler says he asked China Daily for a retraction but the paper refused.

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RC

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