CHINA: Journalist Fesses Up

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – How far would you go to make some extra money?  Would you forsake your vow to report the truth and nothing but the truth? Chen Yongzhou, a Chinese writer for the New Express, has admitted to continuously fabricating reports that were unsubstantiated and false against Zoomlion, a major engineering company, at the request of others.

According to police, it’s now known that Chen made-up more than 10 stories based on falsified materials supplied by an unknown third party from September 2012 to August 2013. These stories focused on the company’s “financial problems,” yet had no real facts to back up asserted claims. They resulted in bringing devastating losses to Zoomlion, including its share prices.

Chen was detained on October 18 on suspicions of damaging business reputation. The arrest occurred in Guangzhou and was conducted by police from Changsha, the capital of China’s Hunan Province and where Zoomlion is based. The Changsha City Public Security Bureau stated that it first received grievances from Zoomlion about the false reports on September 9 of this year.

Chen confessed to police that he was “afraid of getting into trouble” after witnessing the results of his fabricated articles. Further, he stated that he had obtained “rewards” offered by the third party, which ranged from thousands to tens of thousands of yuan. According to him only “one and a half” of his reports were written after proper journalistic research. The rest were invented based on articles supplied for him, some of which he circulated on the New Express without proofreading.

Chen has apologized and said that “If I were given a chance to be a reporter again, I would follow the professional ethics to write impartial, true, objective and balanced reports. I would not be lured by benefits.” Unfortunately for Chen, this revelation comes too little too late.

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