Although she has said she enjoyed working at the newspaper, former Chinese-language China Times reporter You Wan-chi (游婉琪) said she decided to quit in protest against the newspaper’s reporting on an alleged scandal — which later proved to be false — about Academia Sinica researcher Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌).
“I never regretted working at the China Times, even now,” You said in an interview with the Taipei Times yesterday, on her last day working for the China Times. “If not for the incident involving Huang Kuo-chang, I would have stayed at the China Times.”
She was referring to a series of reports filed by news outlets under the Want Want China Times Media Group — including the China Times, China Television and CTiTV — that implied Huang had paid students to take part in a demonstration outside the National Communications Commission (NCC) headquarters as the commission reviewed a merger application between the Want Want Group and China Network Systems (CNS) on July 25.
Huang, along with several other academics, staged a demonstration against the Want Want-CNS merger.
“I was sent to cover the news, but it was not published and on the second day [July 26] of the protest, I was asked to interview a few academics to get their comments on the Want Want-CNS merger, and I did,” You said.
However, The China Times used the entire page to publish stories implying that Huang had paid to mobilize students and You’s name was listed as one of the contributing reporters.
“It was a shock, because not a word of what I wrote was published,” You said, adding she immediately protested but received no response from her supervisor.
You continued to protest and asked her supervisor to remove her name from the byline. She said her supervisor only promised that she would not be asked to write a column on the incident.
However, on July 28, when the supervisor was not at work, his substitute asked her to write a column on the incident.
“I refused and called up my supervisor, who promised he would talk to the editor-in-chief,” You said. “About half an hour later, my supervisor called back and completely changed his attitude. He persuaded me to accept the assignment and said that instead of writing a column, I only needed to write a ‘news analysis,’ speaking about what I had observed and do not have to even mention the name Huang Kuo-chang.”
You said she wrote what she really believed, without implying that Huang was involved.
“Once again, I was shocked when the final version of the article came out — the three paragraphs I wrote had become six and the additional three paragraphs were all criticisms of Huang and my name was the only name in the byline,” You said.
The news analysis triggered waves of criticism from the public and many netizens described You using words such as “bitch” and “shameless.”
“That was the final straw. I just couldn’t hold it anymore and I decided to quit,” You said. “If you aske me what’s the reason I decided to resign, it was a breach of trust. I simply do not trust the management of the newspaper anymore.”
After You tendered her resignation, some of the people in the upper management talked to her, hoping she would stay, and made promises.
“How am I supposed to trust them after so many deceptions?” she said.
While many friends described her decision to resign as “out of anger,” You said she actually felt relieved to leave the newspaper.