Disappointed with Dutch Newspaper NRC’s Response, News Assistant Appeals for Independent Investigation

Editor’s Note:

On September 4th, 2017, ChinaDataInsider is authorized to issue a statement from a former news assistant of Dutch Newspaper NRC Handelsblad, in which he has made allegations against the Dutch journalist and his former boss Mr. Oscar Garschagen. 

Yesterday, NRC Handelsblad issued a statement in Dutch by the editor-in-chief Peter Vandermeersch. The mainstream newspaper in the Netherlands has asked Mr.Oscar Garschagen to answer the allegations in detail and claimed in the end Mr. Zhang’s “assertion, of course, is not true”.

This matter has received more and more attention. Shanghai’s media Sixth Tone has translated parts of the NRC Handelsblad’s statement.

Vandermeersch explained in the post that there had been friction in NRC’s Shanghai bureau between Garschagen and his news assistant, Zhang Chaoqun, because the latter did not come up with enough ideas and showed a reluctance to accompany Garschagen to report on the 19th Party Congress later in the year. Zhang’s lack of a journalistic background also led to “annoyances and miscommunications,” the editor-in-chief wrote. 

The article also gives detailed responses from Garschagen to Zhang’s accusations. Garschagen refutes some of the allegations by explaining that Zhang was simply not present during the disputed interviews or anecdotes. Garschagen was suspicious of Zhang’s contacts with security authorities, the blog post explains, which was one reason why the correspondent often went out on his own.

The media based in Hong Kong hk01 has also reported the issue and the dispute in Chinese public opinion field. It describes the official statement of NRC Handelsblad as the fightback against Mr. Zhang and mentioned Zhang’s initial statement has been spread on the Chinese internet media, including one news review associated some of the Foreign Journalists with the so-called Raconteurs and losing their market in China, while the foreign media rarely reported.

In the interview by Sixth Tone, Zhang has claimed that he does not agree that there had been friction between him and Garschagen, and that his only interactions with security authorities were for the purpose of interviews. 

Mr. Zhang Chaoqun feels “extremely disappointed” about NRC Handelsblad’s response. He has written another statement and appeals for the independent investigation by the newspaper’s ombudsman.


The Statement from Zhang Chaoqun on the NRC Handelsblad’s Response

I am extremely disappointed with NRC’s response to my article. Yesterday I was contacted by a NRC editor, claiming to be Elske Schouten, to whom I clearly expressed my willingness to provide all my evidence to facilitate an independent investigation conducted by the newspaper’s ombudsman. Regretfully less than 30 minutes after my conversation with Ms.Schouten, NRC released a statement solely based on Mr. Garchagen’s explanation without any independent investigation. I sincerely hope that NRC will handle the matter seriously and appoint a neutral third party to conduct a comprehensive, independent and unbiased investigation. I am willing to offer my full cooperation and provide any evidence to back up my claims.

Please feel free to contact me for further details.

Zhang Chaoqun

Email: chaoqunchung@163.com

Sept 6th, 2017