The headquarters for China Press, a Chinese-language newspaper with offices in 11 American cities, is on Mission Road in Alhambra. Its editor is Stone Liu, a former economics professor in Guangzhou, China who also studied political science in Cincinnati. China Press' goal, according to Liu, is to "objectively report the development and changes that are taking place in China" as well as to "strive to serve as a voice for the Chinese American community, reflect their concerns, protect their rights, and to encourage Chinese Americans and immigrants to speak out and participate in all sectors of the society." Liu spoke with the Alhambra Source’s Mingshi Di about why the paper chose Alhambra, the connection between his newspaper and the Communist government, and why the Nobel Peace Prize granted to a Chinese dissident was a mistake.
Why is China Press located in Alhambra?
China Press first opened an office in New York in 1990, and the Alhambra office, now its headquarters, opened in 1994. We chose Alhambra because of the large Asian/Chinese population, which has also been growing since then. As the US immigration policy becomes looser, there are more Chinese students, tourists and immigrants coming to Alhambra.
Of the three Chinese publications based in Los Angeles, China Press has a reputation for being the most pro-Chinese government. What is China Press’ relationship with Beijing?
China Press is an independent American media. However, China Press does not have its own bureau in mainland China right now and cooperates with Chinese news agencies such as China News Service, China’s second-largest state-run news agency. We are currently working on having our own bureau in China. This will help China Press better serve its purpose: to objectively report on the development and changes in China.
China Press and World Journal, the Taiwanese-run Chinese-language newspaper, usually take different views on sensitive issues such as the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Does the Chinese government influence China Press due to its cooperation with China News Service?
No, China Press takes its own views. Our reporters and editors think that Liu Xiaobo’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize contains some political ends that resulted from China’s relationship with the rest of the world right now. A lot of Chinese Americans, including me, think that Xiaobo’s behavior does not deserve the prize, and that his remarks are sometimes over-simplistic. The entire world has witnessed China’s positive changes and developments in the past decades.
How else does China Press differ from the other Los Angeles based Chinese media: World Journal and Sing Tao Daily?
China Press uses simplified instead of traditional Chinese characters because our main reader group consists of immigrants and Chinese Americans who came from mainland China. (Traditional Chinese characters are used in Hong Kong and Taiwan.) Since China Press places a particular emphasize on reporting the developments and changes happening in mainland China, we consider the content of our publication more compatible with the taste of mainland Chinese immigrants. But of course we do not exclude readers from Hong Kong and Taiwan, a lot of whom also subscribe to our paper. In fact our survey results showed that readers from Hong Kong and Taiwan do not reject simplified Chinese characters.
What impact has China Press made on the Chinese American community?
There has been a historical improvement on Chinese Americans’ political participation in the United States in the past 20 years. As a Chinese-language publication, China Press encourages Chinese Americans to run for elections and to vote. In a democratic country like the US, no vote equals no right. Chinese Americans, as a minority group, need to become aware of their rights and increase civil participation.
How has China Press served as a bridge between the Chinese American community and mainstream community?
A lot of mainstream politicians use China Press as a platform to reach the Chinese American community. For example, during the last California state election, China Press helped candidates connect with their Chinese-speaking voters and our readers became more aware of what was happening in the society. On the other hand, China Press also serves as a voice for the Chinese American community. During the last Chinese New Year Festival, some conflicts rose between many Chinese vendors and the Monterey Park City Council. China Press covered the story extensively to reflect the voice of Chinese Americans.
Interview translated from Mandarin and edited and condensed.