Finding The Epoch Times

Last Monday I was returning home with a fellow Hoya. We had just gone to an after-school program in the North Capitol Street neighborhood of DC and done an activity with a few kids on malnutrition in India. We walked to Mt. Vernon Square and waited at a bus stop for the Circulator. After a while of waiting, I gradually realized we had entered Chinatown; I should have realized this a lot sooner, considering that we were looking at a FedEx across the street with Chinese characters, but I had never gone to Chinatown from that direction before. As we were still waiting, I looked at the nearby newspaper bins (or whatever they're called) and only found one free one that looked like it had news: The Epoch Times. As far as I know, I'd never seen this paper before, and on the long bus ride home, I read it and discovered a very interesting publication.

Flipping through the paper, I realized quickly that it had a major focus on China; the second part of the paper even had articles on Chinese folk history and a Chinese language idiom. What confused me, however, was that the news coverage of China's government was overwhelmingly critical: The top front page article was about allegations of forced organ harvesting from prisoners in China, and how a quarter of U.S. House members had signed onto a letter requesting information on it. What kind of China-focused newspaper is negative about the Chinese government? I had to investigate.

Wikipedia had my answer: "It was founded in 1999 by supporters and practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline." Falun Gong has been heavily persecuted by the Chinese government since 1999, seven years after its inception in China as a spiritual movement. The Epoch Times, then, while not an official mouthpiece of Falun Gong, has its roots in giving voice to people who experienced oppression under the CCP. It's now quite an international newspaper, published in many different languages, available online, and provided free of charge in many urban areas. Just today, as a matter of fact, I found the most recent edition in a box here in Rosslyn, so the distribution around the DC area is greater than I assumed. (It's not just in Chinatown.)

A well-informed and knowledgeable global citizen should get their news from a variety of perspectives.  I really enjoy Al Jazeera as a source, which is perhaps the largest global news organization based in the developing world. I think the Epoch Times is also a great source for perspective, considering that most any news you receive directly from China will probably contain no trace of CCP criticism. It's the international voice of a diaspora, focused on an incredibly important country while also having a unique view on news about other topics. I'll keep reading the Epoch Times whenever I find it.

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