Yuen-Ying Chan

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Yuen-Ying Chan
Yuen-Ying Chan, May 2009 (6).jpg
Hong Kong
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Michigan
Occupation journalist, professor
Awards International Press Freedom Award (1997)

Yuen-Ying Chan (Chinese: 陳婉瑩; pinyin: Chén Wǎnyíng; Cantonese Yale: Chan4 Yun2-ying4, also known as Ying Chan) is a Hong Kong-based American journalist best known for her role in a 1996 libel suit by a Taiwanese Kuomintang official.


A Hong Kong native with American citizenship,[1] Chan received a bachelor's degree in social sciences from the University of Hong Kong and a master's in journalism from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.[2] Chan moved to the United States in 1972 to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan.[1] She later worked for the New York Daily News.[3]

Liu Tai-ying libel action

In 1996, Chan collaborated with Shieh Chung-liang, the Taiwan bureau chief of the Hong Kong-based magazine Yazhou Zhoukan to investigate possible Taiwanese contributions to US President Bill Clinton's re-election campaign. The pair wrote an article that appeared on 25 October reporting that Liu Tai-ying, the business manager of Taiwan's Kuomintang political party, had offered $15 million to Mark Middleton, an ex-Clinton White House aide.[1] The article also printed a denial from Liu that he had offered the money.[3] Liu went on to file a criminal libel suit against the pair on 7 November.[4] Chen Chao-ping, a political consultant named as the source of the story, was added as a co-defendant.[5] Liu also filed a civil suit for $15 million in damages.[6]

Calling the trial "a test case for press freedom in Asia", The Committee to Protect Journalists filed an amicus brief on their behalf, as did ten major US media companies.[1] The Kuomintang called a special meeting to endorse the libel suit and condemn Chan and Shieh.[5] However, a Taiwanese district court ruled in the pair's favour on 22 April 1997.[1] The ruling was "hailed as a landmark decision" for press freedom by media watchdog groups, in part because Judge Lee Wei-shen's decision acknowledged the constitutional right to a free press for the first time in Taiwanese judicial history.[6]

Academic work

In 1999, Chan founded the Journalism and Media Studies Centre in Hong Kong, which offered both graduate and undergraduate degrees in journalism. She later established the Cheung Kong School of Journalism and Communication at Shantou University in Guangdong, China.[7]

In 2006, she strongly criticised the search engine Google for censoring its Chinese service, calling it "a missed opportunity to help nurture free journalism in the country".[8]

Awards and honours

Chan's honours include a 1995 Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University[3] and a George Polk Award for excellence in American journalism.[7]

In November 1997, The Committee to Protect Journalists gave Chan and Shieh its International Press Freedom Award,[1] "an annual recognition of courageous journalism".[9] The award citation stated that "[Chan and Shieh's] courage sets an example in a region noted for both widespread self-censorship and government intervention in the functioning of the press."[1]

In August 2013, the Asian American Journalist Association honoured Chan with a Lifetime Achievement Award, citing her work at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre, HKU, as well as being the founding dean of the School of Journalism and Communications at Shantou University, in China.[10] "Through journalism programs at both universities she is raising a new generation of questioning, curious and fair journalists right on the doorstep of mainland China," the award citation said in part.[11]

Chan was a member of the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from 2003 to 2009.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Ying Chan and Shieh Chung-liang". Committee to Protect Journalists. 1996. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Biography: Yuen-Ying Chan". Columbia University School of Journalism. Archived from the original on 26 August 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Anthony Lewis (6 December 1996). "Writing a Crime". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  4. ^ "Criminal libel suit filed against two journalists". International Freedom of Expression Exchange. 5 December 1996. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  5. ^ a b Stephen Vines (20 December 1996). "Taiwan sues over Clinton slush-fund claim". The Independent. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  6. ^ a b Cheung Chui Yung (16 June 1997). "Landmark Libel Case Up For Appeal". Inter Press Service. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Q&A: teaching journalism in China". Columbia Journalism Review. 19 June 2012. Archived from the original on 26 August 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  8. ^ Julia Day (1 February 2006). "Chinese professor hits out at Google". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 August 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  9. ^ "CPJ International Press Freedom Awards 2011". Committee to Protect Journalists. 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  10. ^ "AAJA Announces 2013 Award Winners". "Asian American Journalist Association". 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  11. ^ "JMSC's Ying Chan Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from AAJA". "Journalism and Media Studies Centre". 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  12. ^ http://www.peabodyawards.com/stories/story/george-foster-peabody-awards-board-members

External links

  • Brief by US media organisations in support of Chan and Shieh
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