Skip to main content

Xinhua: Chinese journalist confesses to fabricating stories

By CNN Staff
October 27, 2013 -- Updated 0100 GMT (0900 HKT)
China's New Express newspaper made a bold front-page plea for the release of one of its reporters. Days later, the reporter made a taped confession.
China's New Express newspaper made a bold front-page plea for the release of one of its reporters. Days later, the reporter made a taped confession.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "The entire journalist industry could learn a lesson from me," Chen says
  • But his newspaper says it checked his stories and found only one discrepancy
  • Police say he was paid for the stories
  • His colleagues say he couldn't afford to go to take his wife to Pizza Hut

Beijing (CNN) -- A Chinese reporter who was arrested last week on suspicion of damaging a business' reputation has confessed to releasing fabricated stories about the company for money and fame, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Saturday.

"I definitely hope the entire journalist industry could learn a lesson from me," New Express journalist Chen Yongzhou said while in custody in an interview distributed by Reuters. "For myself, if I were given one more chance to be a journalist, I must follow the basic journalistic ethics that are impartial, real, objective and complete to report -- and would not be lured by self interest."

Chen released more than 10 unverified reports -- from September 29, 2012, until August 8, 2013 -- that centered on "financial problems" experienced by the engineering company Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science & Technology and resulted in losses for the company, Xinhua reported, citing police.

Chen, who is based in the southern city of Guangzhou, apologized to the company, to its investors and to his family, police told Xinhua.

Bo Xilai appeal rejected
China gets tough on foreign television

He was taken into custody October 18 in Guangzhou by police from Changsha in Hunan Province, where Zoomlion is based, months after the newspaper ran stories under his byline that said Zoomlion had falsified its sales numbers.

The state-run company, which did not respond to a call for comment, makes construction equipment.

The 27-year-old reporter has worked for New Express since he graduated in 2009.

According to police, "other people" paid Chen for the stories, Xinhua said.

"Chen confessed that only 'one and a half' of his more than 10 reports about Zoomlion were done after gathering information himself, while the rest were made based on provided articles," Xinhua said. "He even published some of the supplied articles on the New Express without reading them first."

The announcement came two days after the New Express pleaded on its front page, "Please set him free."

The move garnered sympathy online and China's media regulator vowed to protect "lawful reporting rights," according to the state-run China Press and Publishing Media group.

The paper said Wednesday that it had checked all of Chen's stories about Zoomlion and found only one discrepancy: He wrote the company spent 513 million yuan on advertisements, when that money had been spent on "advertisements and entertainment."

"If Brother Policeman can find any evidence of shabby reporting on our part, please make notice of it and we will gladly doff our hat," the newspaper said, according to a translation published by the University of Hong Kong's China Media Project.

"Because we still believe that -- some day, at least -- you will have the same full respect for the law that we have."

CNN's Feng Ke in Beijing contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 0452 GMT (1252 HKT)
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1942 GMT (0342 HKT)
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0712 GMT (1512 HKT)
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0631 GMT (1431 HKT)
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0656 GMT (1456 HKT)
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT)
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0334 GMT (1134 HKT)
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
ADVERTISEMENT