September 23, 2021

Foreign Couple in China Face Charges over Business Practices

HONG KONG — The police in Shanghai have announced the arrest of an American woman and her British husband on charges of illegally gathering personal information as part of their business of advising foreign companies on investment risks and fraud in China.

The police announcement, issued through Xinhua, the state-run news agency, late on Monday, was the first official Chinese confirmation that the American woman, Yu Yingzeng, and British man, Peter Humphrey, were arrested because of their work for ChinaWhys, an investigation and advisory company that they founded in Shanghai in 2003. Last week, the British Embassy in Beijing said Mr. Humphrey, formerly a reporter for Reuters, had been arrested.

A Chinese state television news program showed what it said was footage of Mr. Humphrey confessing, and the Web site of the newspaper Legal Daily said Ms. Yu had admitted to breaking the law. But the couple have been held in secrecy, making it impossible to say whether they spoke under duress.

The allegations against the couple are likely to send a chill through the fraud and commercial investigation firms in China that help foreign investors navigate the country’s capricious commercial environment. Some multinationals in China have also come under pressure recently as a result of government investigations and allegations of price fixing and using bribery to facilitate business. The Xinhua report said that “the work concerning the case is still developing.”

Police investigators in Shanghai found that, over the course of a decade, Mr. Humphrey and Ms. Yu had “used compilation, purchasing and other methods to illegally acquire and sell a large amount of citizens’ personal information, seeking to make illegal gains,” according to the Xinhua report. The information they are accused of gathering includes details about home addresses, family members, overseas travel and property, the Xinhua report said. It called ChinaWhys an “illegal investigation company.”

Ms. Yu and Mr. Humphrey were formally arrested on Aug. 16, have confessed to the allegations, and have “expressed extreme remorse for their criminal behavior and apologized to the Chinese government,” the report said. “The two clearly knew that this behavior violated Chinese law.”

Chinese television news showed what it said was Mr. Humphrey’s admission of guilt. “We sometimes in the past used illegal means to acquire personal information,” said the man in the video, his face obscured by a digital blot, speaking in fluent Mandarin Chinese. “I’m very remorseful about this and wish to apologize to the Chinese government.”

The formal arrest means that the police will have more time to investigate the couple, and the authorities will then decide whether to indict them. The couple have been detained since July and unable to speak publicly, so the Shanghai police account could not be independently verified.

Legal Daily said the couple made payments ranging from 800 renminbi, or about $130, to 2,000 renminbi ($327) for items of illegally obtained information. At least some kinds of the information they are accused of gathering is publicly available.

Calls to the ChinaWhys office in Shanghai were not answered. Mr. Humphrey is the managing director of ChinaWhys, and Ms. Yu is general manager.

Police investigators studied more than 500 investigation reports that ChinaWhys carried out for clients and found “dozens of reports with serious violations of Chinese citizens’ privacy,” the Xinhua report said. Those clients included manufacturers, financial institutions and law firms, according to Xinhua.

Earlier, an acquaintance of Mr. Humphrey’s, who asked not to be identified by name, said Mr. Humphrey appeared to have been arrested in connection with his work for GlaxoSmithKline, the British pharmaceutical group beset by allegations of using bribery to expand its sales in China. The Xinhua report did not mention GlaxoSmithKline or any other companies.

A spokesman for the United States Embassy in Beijing, Justin Higgins, said consular officers had visited Ms. Yu on July 16, soon after she was first detained. “We remain in contact with Ms. Yu and will continue to provide consular assistance,” Mr. Higgins said. A spokesman for the British Embassy in Beijing said he had nothing more to say at this stage.

Article source:

Media Decoder Blog: Michele Norris Returns to NPR

Michele Norris, the NPR host who took a 15-month leave of absence while her husband worked for the Obama campaign, will return to the public radio network in February, NPR said Thursday.

But Ms. Norris will not resume hosting “All Things Considered,” the program she, Robert Siegel and Melissa Block hosted for nearly a decade. Rather, she will be a guest host for NPR and a special correspondent. Audie Cornish, who took over for Ms. Norris in January 2012, will remain a co-host of the afternoon news program.

NPR said in a news release that Ms. Norris “will produce in-depth profiles, interviews and series, and regularly guest host NPR News programs,” including “All Things Considered,” “Morning Edition” and “Talk of the Nation.” When she returns to the public radio network, she’ll bring with her “The Race Card Project,” an initiative she started that involves people sharing six-word comments about race. The initiative will be featured on NPR’s Web site and will spawn related radio segments as well. She will also continue a developing a book club for young listeners.

Ms. Norris left her position in October 2011 when her husband, Broderick Johnson, joined President Obama’s re-election campaign as a senior adviser. At the time she cited both the ethical conundrum and “the impact that it will most certainly have on our family life.”

When she left, she said it was a temporary change “until after the 2012 elections.” But Thursday’s announcement makes the hosting change permanent.

Margaret Low Smith, NPR’s senior vice president of news, said in an email to employees on Thursday, “With Michele taking on a new role, I’m delighted that Audie Cornish has agreed to step in permanently at ‘All Things Considered.’ Audie has done an exceptional job this past year, revealing new depth and dimension. Her experience on Capitol Hill made her an especially valuable presence covering the 2012 election. Audie beautifully rounds out the host lineup with Robert and Melissa.”

Ms. Cornish was previously the host of “Weekend Edition Sunday.” Rachel Martin, who filled in for her on Sundays last year, will now be the permanent host of that program, NPR said.

Here is Ms. Smith’s email to employees:

Dear All,

I have some significant host news to announce. After the inauguration, Michele Norris will be returning to NPR in a new role as a Host/Special Correspondent, producing signature profiles of leaders in politics, pop culture, business and other fields. While on sabbatical, Michele has spent a good deal of time traveling the country and developing two successful initiatives: The Race Card Project and NPR’s Backseat Book Club. Her new role will allow her to continue this work while producing in-depth segments for all NPR programs.

Michele created The Race Card Project to foster a wider conversation about race after her 2010 family memoir, The Grace of Silence, was published. Michele asked people to share their thoughts about race in just six words. More than 14,000 people from all over the globe submitted their thoughts, observations, fears, hopes and experiences about race. Those six word stories are a rich archive of views about a complex subject. They also represent a meaningful opportunity for Michele to share her distinctive style of storytelling with NPR listeners on this important topic. To that end, I’ve asked Michele to develop features around The Race Card Project on and related segments for broadcast, in addition to producing in-depth profile segments on newsmakers. Michele will continue to develop The Back Seat Book Club feature aimed at cultivating NPR’s youngest listenership and she will do a variety of live events and roundtable discussions to help NPR increase its visibility. Michele will also lend her unique hosting style as a guest host on NPR news programs.

Michele spent nearly ten years hosting All Things Considered and was a powerful addition to the show. She brings a unique interviewing style that combines both warmth and grit when talking to world leaders, Nobel Laureates, Oscar winners and American presidents. Her keen ear and sharp instincts led to many memorable segments with everyday people including Katrina survivors, comedians, working parents, school principals and survivors of war. We’re looking forward to hearing Michele’s work in this next chapter.

With Michele taking on a new role, I’m delighted that Audie Cornish has agreed to step in permanently at All Things Considered. Audie has done an exceptional job this past year, revealing new depth and dimension. Her experience on Capitol Hill made her an especially valuable presence covering the 2012 election. Audie beautifully rounds out the host lineup with Robert and Melissa. She is an outstanding journalist, with a wonderful on air presence, and now she is a welcome and familiar voice to ATC listeners.

In turn, Rachel Martin will stay on as host of Weekend Edition Sunday. Before she began hosting, Rachel was our National Security Correspondent and draws on a decade of experience reporting all over the world. Her deep intellect, editorial range and warm presence make her the perfect choice for this position. Rachel and Audie have won the admiration and appreciation of audiences, stations and colleagues alike.

Please join me in congratulating everyone on their new assignments.



Article source:

Gotham: At Wall Street Protests, Clash of Reporting and Policing

Any officer who “unreasonably interferes” with reporters or blocks photographers will be subject to disciplinary actions.

These are fine words. Of course, his words followed on the heels of a few days in mid-November when the police arrested, punched, kicked and used metal barriers to ram reporters and photographers covering the Occupy Wall Street protests.

And recent events suggest that the commissioner should speak more loudly. Ryan Devereaux, a reporter, serves as Exhibit 1A that all is not well.

On Dec. 17, Mr. Devereaux covered a demonstration at Duarte Square on Canal Street for “Democracy Now!,” a news program carried on 1,000 stations. Ragamuffin demonstrators surged and the police pushed back. A linebacker-size officer grabbed the collar of Mr. Devereaux, who wore an ID identifying him as a reporter. The cop jammed a fist into his throat, turning Mr. Devereaux into a de facto battering ram to push back protesters.

“I yelled, ‘I’m a journalist!’ and he kept shoving his fist and yelling to his men, ‘Push, boys!’ ”

Eventually, with curses and threats to arrest Mr. Devereaux, the officer relaxed his grip.

You don’t have to take his word. An Associated Press photograph shows this uniformed fellow grinding a meat-hook fist into the larynx of Mr. Devereaux, who is about 5 feet 5 inches. A video, easily found online, shows an officer blocking a photographer for The New York Times at the World Financial Center, jumping to put his face in front of the camera as demonstrators are arrested in the background.

And three nights ago, at a New Year’s Eve demonstration at Zuccotti Park, a captain began pushing Colin Moynihan, a reporter covering the protest for The Times. After the reporter asked the captain to stop, another officer threatened to yank away his police press pass. “That’s a boss; you do what a boss tells you,” the officer said, adding a little later, “You got that credential you’re wearing from us, and we can take it away from you.”

Reporting and policing can be high-adrenaline jobs. . But the decade-long trajectory in New York is toward expanded police power. Officers routinely infiltrate groups engaged in lawful dissent, spy on churches and mosques, and often toss demonstrators and reporters around with impunity.

When this is challenged, the police commissioner and the mayor often shrug it off and fight court orders. The mayor even argued that to let the press watch the police retake Zuccotti Park would be to violate the privacy of protesters. “It wouldn’t be fair,” he said.

As arguments go, this is perversely counterintuitive. But the mayor’s words reflect, as State Senator Eric Adams, the civil liberties lawyer Norman Siegel and two others wrote in a recent letter to the commissioner, a misunderstanding of long-established patrol guide procedures. The regulations are clear:

“The media will be given access as close to the activity as possible, with a clear line of sight and within hearing range of the incident.”

Precisely the opposite occurred on Nov. 15, when police officers herded reporters into a pen out of sight and sound of Zuccotti Park.

The next day, the protesters moved north and briefly occupied a lot owned by Trinity Church. As the police closed in on demonstrators, they also handcuffed and arrested Associated Press and Daily News reporters. Mayoral press representatives stoutly insisted that the police acted properly. “It is impossible to say the reporters were not breaking the law,” a spokesman wrote to me.

Let me venture into the world of the impossible then. The police patrolmen’s guide is explicit. “Members of the media,” it states, “will not be arrested for criminal trespass unless an owner expressly indicates … that the press is not to be permitted.”

I checked with the landlord, Trinity Church. They’d made no such call. Paul J. Browne, a deputy police commissioner, agreed. That is why, he noted in an e-mail, “The reporter arrests at Duarte were voided.”

Senator Adams retired as a police captain. He loved the blue and all it implied, and acknowledges he was not above cursing the laws that restrained him.

“Who wouldn’t like unlimited power?” he said.

That is precisely why the past decade worries him so. “If the police and the mayor won’t follow their own rules, whose rules will they follow?” he says. “And very few people ask any questions.”

New York, Mr. Adams says, “is leading the way in not wanting to know where it’s going.”


Twitter: @powellnyt

Article source:

Media Equation: Brian Williams Adds Newsmagazine to His Portfolio

At his apartment in New York last Thursday night, he fussed with the remote, scanned CNN and checked the local news, all while chatting about the fact that two weeks from Monday, NBC will add to the pile of television news with a one-hour show called “Rock Center With Brian Williams.” It may not knock “60 Minutes” off its perch, but NBC, now owned by Comcast, hopes it is good enough to one day be mentioned as a competitor.

Mr. Williams likes the idea of calling the show “Rock Center,” not only because it conjures the building he works in, but because it brings to mind “30 Rock.”

“People could tune in expecting to see Tina,” he said, referring to the sitcom’s star, Tina Fey. “I think the name confusion can only help us, right?”


“Rock Center With Brian Williams,” an attempt to spread his broadcast charisma over a newsmagazine show, is a smart but not sure bet for Comcast, which made the show a priority after buying the network in 2009 and getting government approval to buy NBC at the beginning of this year. True, “60 Minutes” is more venerable than vulnerable, but NBC, with the “Nightly News” hosted by Mr. Williams, “The Today Show” and “Meet the Press” — all No. 1 in their categories — has a lot of talent and muscle. So it is hard to go wrong adding shelf space in the form of a long-form news show.

The economics of even a lavishly produced news program (typically $250,000 to $300,000 an episode) are much tidier than a dramatic show ($3 million or more per episode). “Rock Center” is taking over a Monday night slot being vacated by the short-lived “Playboy Club” at 10 p.m.

The history of serious attempts at a newsmagazine is characterized by brave rhetoric followed by abundant carnage. Remember that “Dateline” and “48 Hours” rolled out with great fanfare before sliding into the slime of sexual predators and reheated celebrity tawdriness.

But NBC is not just dipping a toe in: “Rock Center” has hired 70 people at a time when other network news divisions continue to shrink, spending substantial money on talent in front of and behind the camera. And the executive producer, Rome Hartman, is a highly regarded veteran of both the BBC and “60 Minutes,” where he produced over 100 segments.

The correspondents include Harry Smith, Meredith Vieira, Kate Snow, Richard Engel and — as was just announced last week — Ted Koppel. They are backed by a group of hotshot producers, a few of them grabbed from “60 Minutes,” a notoriously difficult place for talent to rise because there is so much of it.

Those names and credentials have impressed people in the business, but the rest of us will be tuning in to see Mr. Williams.

Somewhere between the anchor chair and his funny turns with late-nighters like David Letterman and Jon Stewart, there is a runway for his brand of abnormal normalcy. He’s just like us, only better, or at least more famous.

I have heard people in Midwestern V.F.W.’s say nice things about him, but he also received favorable mention at a breakfast of digital media savants I recently attended. In a niched-up world, Mr. Williams is someone we all seem to hold in common, not because he is Uncle Walt, but because he reflects an appealing mash-up of earnestness and knowingness.

The first promo for the show is built on a friendly smirk at the trappings of network television. “I am sitting on the ‘NBC Nightly News’ set and behind us,” he says, with a jerk of the thumb, “is the set for ‘Rock Center.’ My life will basically take place in this room.” Scanning the place, he points to a corner. “There is a plan for a pasta bar back over there.”

The studio segments between stories will be live, which will provide a contrast to the carefully scripted interstitials on “60 Minutes.” But, more to the point, Mr. Williams prefers to work that way.


Article source:

Anderson Cooper Seeks to Show his Daytime Side

This week, he will spend an hour talking to Snooki about her tan.

That will not be on CNN, of course, home of his nightly hard news program, “Anderson Cooper 360.” Instead, it will be on local television stations across the country, where Mr. Cooper will begin his moonlighting job on Monday as host of a syndicated daytime talk hour, “Anderson.”

Beyond Snooki, Mr. Cooper’s first-week lineup includes an interview with Sarah Jessica Parker about her new movie, a chat with the cast of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” in the wake of the suicide of one of the husbands, and, in his opening episode on Monday, an interview with the family of the recently deceased pop singer Amy Winehouse.

These topics are not likely to be addressed on his CNN program, and that is one of the reasons Mr. Cooper wanted to expand into daytime talk. “Everybody has different sides to them,” he said in an interview by phone. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to work different jobs that show different sides of you.”

Some traditionalists may see a risk for Mr. Cooper’s news reputation in diverting himself into the more superficial fields of daytime talk. Judy Muller, who spent much of her career as a news correspondent for ABC news, and now is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Southern California, said that assessment might be expected from “an old-school reporter like me.”

Ms. Muller’s view, though, is more nuanced. “There is no doubt that Anderson Cooper has established his serious credentials. That said, there is always a risk when you move into more light-hearted venues of the likes of Snooki.”

But Mr. Cooper, she said, “is a different kind of journalist, one for the future. He is transparently who he is.”

Mr. Cooper is introducing his daytime side — he said he has been a longtime viewer of the genre — in the first week of the post-Oprah era. He enters as one of the great hopes to inherit the audience Ms. Winfrey leaves behind.

“We have high expectations,” said Hilary Estey McLoughlin, the president of Telepictures, the syndicator of Mr. Cooper’s foray into daytime talk. She said that the show can be seen by 99 percent of country. (In New York it will be seen on WPIX.)

Only about eight of the stations will be ones where Ms. Winfrey’s show used to reside, a total dwarfed by the “Dr. Oz” show, which grabbed 80 of those slots. Still, Ms. McLoughlin highlighted Mr. Cooper’s appeal as a lead-in show to local news.

That afternoon position is hotly pursued by many daytime talk show contenders. Mr. Cooper said his show would be evenly divided between openings in the morning and the afternoon. But syndicated shows that succeed often start out in the mornings and gravitate to the afternoons.

The financial riches that Ms. Winfrey reached during her long syndicated run may be impossible to attain, because syndicated shows face the same ratings erosion that afflicts broadcast entertainment programs. Daytime talk shows, however, still have the capability to reach three million to four million viewers a day and remain, in the words of Michael Nathanson, the United States media analyst for Nomura, “a significant moneymaker.”

Mr. Nathanson said the costs for daytime talk shows remained so low — many at less than $1 million a week (Mr. Nathanson estimated the first year costs for “Anderson” at $25 million to $28 million) — that anything resembling a hit could generate tens of millions in revenue or more a year. Hosts often become quite wealthy, though that, Mr. Nathanson said, may be less an incentive for Mr. Cooper, a descendant of the Vanderbilt family.

Mr. Cooper‘s deal with CNN pays him about $10 million a year. He has an undisclosed ownership interest in the talk show, one that could pay him far more if it becomes a long-running success.

Article source:

Media Decoder: Glenn Beck to End Daily Fox News Program

Glenn Beck.

4:45 p.m. | Updated | Glenn Beck will end his daily Fox News Channel program later this year.

His departure was jointly announced in a statement on Wednesday by Fox and Mr. Beck’s company, Mercury Radio Arts.

Fox News and Mercury Radio Arts, which have clashed over the making of “Glenn Beck,” will “work together to develop and produce a variety of television projects for air on the Fox News Channel as well as content for other platforms including Fox News’ digital properties,” the companies said in the statement.

As expected, a senior Fox News executive, Joel Cheatwood, will join Mr. Beck at Mercury Radio Arts starting later this month.

The joint statement did not specify an end date for Mr. Beck’s show, called “Glenn Beck,” which has been telecast at 5 p.m. on Fox News since early 2009. Asked if Fox News had a rough end date for “Glenn Beck,” a spokeswoman referred back to the statement. Mr. Beck’s contract with Fox ends in December.

Mr. Beck is a hugely popular figure on Fox News, averaging 2.2 million viewers each weekday, though his ratings have fallen somewhat in the last year. He is beloved by his fans for speaking out against what he sees as threats from progressives, socialists and people he deems “radicals.” His opponents — and there are many — condemn him for his conspiratorial views and apocalyptic predictions.

Notably, his program is a rare daily broadcast platform for a strain of libertarian politics that is also evident in the Tea Party, a movement he embraced and encouraged.

Though it rarely spilled onto the television broadcasts, Mr. Beck and his managers repeatedly clashed with Fox, and they had been contemplating an exit from Fox for some time. Two of the post-Fox options Mr. Beck has considered, according to people who have spoken about it with him, are a partial or wholesale takeover of a cable channel, or an expansion of his subscription video service on the Web. His company has been staffing up — making Web shows, some of which have little or nothing to do with Mr. Beck, and charging a monthly subscription for access to the shows.

A spokesman for Mr. Beck declined to say whether the agreement announced Wednesday included a non-compete agreement that would preclude Mr. Beck from hosting a television show elsewhere for a period of time.

Mr. Beck also hosts a syndicated radio show on weekday mornings. He was estimated to earn about $32 million in total revenues in 2009, the first year that he worked at Fox.

In the statement on Wednesday, Mr. Beck said he would be starting a “new phase” of a partnership with Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News. “I truly believe that America owes a lot to Roger Ailes and Fox News,” he said.

Mr. Ailes said in the statement, “Glenn Beck is a powerful communicator, a creative entrepreneur and a true success by anybody’s standards. I look forward to continuing to work with him.”

Almost immediately after Mr. Beck’s announcement, the progressive group Media Matters for America, which combats Fox on a daily basis, said it was “no surprise” that he was leaving, given that many advertisers had shunned Mr. Beck’s show ever since he labeled President Obama a racist in the summer of 2009. (Fox has said in the past that the advertisers simply moved over to other programs on the channel.)

Color of Change, the group that spearheaded an advertiser boycott of Mr. Beck, asserted that the program lost “over 300 advertisers.” James Rucker, the executive director of the group, said in a statement, “Fox News Channel clearly understands that Beck’s increasingly erratic behavior is a liability to their ratings and their bottom line, and we are glad to see them take this action.”

Article source: