Yining Xie, 58
Yining Xie, a 58-year-old man of Chinese descent, was fatally shot on Friday, Nov. 16, at the China Press, 2121 West Mission Road in Alhambra, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.
The Alhambra Police received a call around 9:38 a.m. that Xie, chairman and founder of the daily China Press or Qiao Bao (Overseas Chinese Press) newspaper in Alhambra, had been shot in his office.
He was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:40 a.m., according to coroner’s records. The cause of death was listed as gunshot wounds to the head and torso.
Investigators believe the shooting was motivated by a workplace dispute between Xie and one of the paper's employees, Zhong Qi Chen, 59, a Chinese national who lives in El Monte, said Sgt. Steve Carr.
Chen was arrested at the office on suspicion of murder the day of the shooting, but was able to post bond for his $1-million bail and was released on Nov. 19, Carr said. He was rearrested the following day on a Los Angeles County Superior Court warrant charging him with Xie's murder, and a bail of $6 million.
On Nov. 26, Chen pleaded not guilty to murder with allegations that he personally used a handgun and caused great bodily injury and death, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. The judge reduced Chen's bail to $3 million. His next court appearance is set for Dec. 18 in Department 5 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Alhambra Branch.
Investigators are still trying to confirm when Chen began working for the newspaper and when he moved to the United States, Carr said. It's been difficult for investigators to develop information, Carr said, in part "because of the language barriers involved."
Xie's death was prominently featured on the China Press's home page but has since been removed from the main pages, and from the organization's English language website, Sino-US.com. Officials at the China Press have not responded to repeated requests for an interview.
Carr said he couldn't comment on why Chen went to Xie's office that morning or the nature of the alleged dispute. "From the information we received, the meeting wasn't described as an argument. It was a conversation," he said. "They were essentially meeting with each other."
There were six other people in the area around Xie's office when the shooting occurred, Carr said, and all were initially detained until the police arrested Chen. No one else was injured.
The China Press, or Qiao Bao, as it's more readily known to its readers, is the third largest Chinese language newspaper in the United States, with more than 100,000 readers in 15 major United States cities, according to a Dec. 21, 2017, article in Foreign Policy magazine.
The paper is officially owned by Rhythm Media Group, a "diversified multi-media and culture services company," which shares the same address as the China Press in Alhambra. Xie was the president of Rhythm Media, whose holdings also include the English language website Sino-US.com, US Chinese Radio in San Francisco and Seattle, the Chinese Culture Development Center and the Rhythm Video film production company.
The company purports to be an independent media outlet, but Foreign Policy and other media organizations have reported that the paper appears to be heavily influenced, if not controlled, by the Chinese government, and often mirrors official Chinese government reports.
According to the Qiao Bao website, Foreign Policy reported, "one of its partner publications is the English-language website of the Global Times, a strongly nationalist paper published on the mainland and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party."
In an article about Xie's death, the Global Times, China's largest English-language daily, reported that Nancy Yan Xu, general manager and chief editor of Global Times North America, would present a wreath at Xie's memorial service on Dec. 2.
Xie was a native of Chaozhou, a city in China's southeastern province of Guangdong. He dreamed of becoming a journalist as a teenager, "so people could know what was really happening in China through his reports," according to Sino-US.com.
"When I was 17 or 18, the stories I read in newspapers were all about 'good situations,’ which was contrary to the reality,'" Sino-US.com quoted Xie as saying. "It made me determined to study in the journalism department."
He graduated from the Department of Journalism in Beijing's Renmin University in 1982, according to the Global Times, and joined the China News Service. In 1987, when he was just 26 years old, he was was assigned to cover the White House as a correspondent for the China News Agency.
In 1990 he resigned from the China News Service and founded the China Press, "as the first full-color Chinese language daily that serves the Chinese community in the US."
More than 200 people attended Xie's memorial service in Alhambra on Dec. 2, according to the China Press.
The mourners included Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park), whose 27th Congressional District includes Alhambra, and Dai Shuangming, Deputy Consul General of the Chinese Consulate-General in Los Angeles, who both spoke at the service, according to the China Press. Chu was mentioned as Zhao Meixin, her Chinese name.
Chu presented a certificate of appreciation to Xie's widow, Guo Jingjing, for his contributions to the community, said her district director Becky Cheng. Chu did not respond to a request for an interview about Xie.
Alhambra Councilman and former Mayor Stephen Sham also declined to comment about Xie and his nearly three decades in the predominately ethnic Chinese community, referring all questions to Alhambra Police.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Alhambra Police Investigations at (626) 570-5157. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.