Magazine article Editor & Publisher

The Gong Show

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

The Gong Show

Article excerpt

Asian and Arabic names have always hung up newspapers. Back when Libya's dictator was in the news, papers rendered his name variously as Moammar Khadafy, Muammar Ghaddafi, or Mu'ammar Qadhafi.

But when a Chinese spiritual movement burst into Western consciousness last April with an audacious demonstration outside Communist Party headquarters in Beijing, newspapers from the Chicago Tribune to the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong quickly agreed on its name: "Falun Gong." Everyone, that is, except The Wall Street Journal. In its pages, the group has always been "Falun Dafa."

"The real question would be for the other papers. Why did they settle on 'Falun Gong'? As far as our policy, it's pretty simple: We call them that because that's what they call themselves," said the Journal's vice president of corporate communications, Richard J. Tofel. There's some evidence of that: A Nov. 16 Reuters dispatch from China reported that "Falun Gong" adherents marched behind a protest sign labeled "Falun Dafa. …

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