Chinatown Newspapers Won't Give You the Real Story Behind Mayor Ed Lee

Categories: Media

Chinesenewspapers2.jpg
​If you take a walk in Chinatown on a weekday morning, you'll notice that many of the little old ladies have newspapers sticking out of their grocery bags, and the guys noshing on their congee are poring over the papers. But they're not reading the Chron or the Examiner, or even SF Weekly (gasp!).

But here's what the local Chinese community is reading: Sing Tao Daily, World Journal, and The China Press. The first two are printed in Traditional Chinese characters, the standardized character sets used in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The China Press is printed in Simplified Chinese characters, which have been used in mainland China since the 1950s as part of the government's attempts to increase literacy.

As of late, many of Chinatown's leaders have been consuming the English press -- namely Rose Pak and Mayor Ed Lee. And that's made SF Weekly a little curious about what the Chinese media is offering its own readers.

They're cheap
We're not exactly surprised that Chinese newspapers are less expensive than their English counterparts, considering how cheap the fruits and vegetables are on Stockton Street. While Chron readers are shelling out 75 cents daily, Chinese readers are paying only 60 cents for Sing Tao Daily and 50 cents for World Journal. But The China Press is even cheaper at a quarter. Now that's a deal.

They have more international coverage
Chinese newspapers aren't catering to local stories. Hong Kong-based Sing Tao Daily, founded in 1938, has the second-largest global coverage in the world, after the International Herald Tribune. World Journal, founded in 1976, serves North America, with a large Chinese-American and Chinese-Canadian readership. The China Press is the youngest paper, founded in 1990 to fill the need for a Simplified Chinese newspaper in the U.S.

Thus your Chinese-American neighbors in the city are well-informed about international news. In all three papers, international headlines are introduced first, before the local news. Recent headlines have included Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's trial, China's high-speed train crash, and sex allegations against Taiwan-born U.S. Congressman David Wu (D-Oregon).

Sing Tao Daily's section A breaks down into U.S., International, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland Chinese news. Section B is devoted entirely to the Bay Area. The other two papers have similar configurations.

They don't tell us too much about Mayor Ed Lee
We were hoping that the Chinese press would give us the real story on Lee, Pak, and the mysterious campaign to get Lee to run for office. But after a thorough read, we were disappointed to find unsatisfying coverage.

For instance, we got nothing more than mundane and contrived quotes from Lee saying he's focusing on his current job and he hasn't made up his mind yet. Boring.

World Journal reported last Wednesday:

Lee indicated that he didn't know when the deadline was to declare candidacy, and when multiple reporters told him it was August 12, Lee said, "Then there's still time, right?"

As for stories on Pak and any allegations that she was behind an illegal Run, Ed, Run campaign, you won't find them in the Chinese press. These newspapers didn't have a single story on the issue. Perhaps, they just don't see it as an issue.

They like to poke fun at Obama, too
In Sing Tao Daily today:

Chinesenewspaperscomic.jpg
"Mission accomplished, congratulations!"

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My Voice Nation Help
12 comments
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A Reader
A Reader

Mr Liu - SFWeekly is NOT a mainstream paper, so I doubt its opinion carries much weight. The cartoon is a translation from other papers, though using it does reflect an editorial stand. Also the Chinese language media is a supplement not the whole. A well-informed person also reads English-language papers. Ms Chen's article has shown her ignorance and bias.

citywatch
citywatch

I wonder these Chinese newpapers are under control of someone not suppose to expose Lee

Snake23_cat13
Snake23_cat13

Did you really read those newspapers EVERY SINGLE day?

Shawn Liu
Shawn Liu

how about interviewing someone who works for one of these papers or just somebody who actually reads them before writing a story for a change?

Kliu
Kliu

Dear Caroline,

We welcome you to visit our newspaper if you have time.

kai-ping liu of the World Journalkliu@chinesenews.com

Caroline Chen
Caroline Chen

Hi Shawn, 

Thanks for the comment. I do, in fact, read these papers and read them before writing the story.

Caroline

Kliu
Kliu

Dear Caroline,

We welcome you to visit our newspaper if you have time.

kai-ping liu of the World Journalkliu@chinesenews.com

Kim
Kim

The Chinese vote for who they are told to vote for, period.

Able Dart
Able Dart

Political junkies always forget that civilians are nowhere near as interested in politics as they are. And frankiy I suspect that Chinatown has far less political junkies per head than white/white-acculturated SF. They're too busy with making a living.

Prof. Wilma Pang
Prof. Wilma Pang

I am one of the ignored candidates and I have lived in Chinatown for the more than 40 years.  I read  the English as well as the Chinese papers plus watch Cantonese and Mandarin stations everyday.  Don't I know what's going on?  However, the mainstream press only cover  the negative side of Chinatown.   Ask around, who is really helping the grassroots of this community.  Wilma Pang is not an unknown entity.  There is beauty and culture right under ones nose.  The poor, disenfranchised non-english population are counting on this poor professor to hold their  hands.  and they  are blossoming in this community;  does anyone care? I am having the greatest fun in my life to see the "untouchable population" coming out to showcasing their culture to tourists and locals alike.  You can spot the musicians every night on Grant AVe. and Commercial.  Weekends on Broadway and Grant and Portsmouth Square in the afternoons. Do I need to be the mayor of SF to help the city?

 Italian opera by training,Prof. Wilma Pang  now she is into  singing  Cantonese opera instead.  So, is there anyone on planet earth can sing both extremes?  Come and check her out, it is free and if you like, you could drop a dollar to help the musicians. 

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