The suitcase, the samurai sword and the pumpkin: Asian crime and news media treatment

Baker, Sarah
Benson, SJ
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Journal Article
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Pacific Media Centre

In 2005 and 2007, two high profile crimes were reported in the New Zealand media. The first case involved the murder of a young Chinese student, Wan Biao, whose dismembered body was discovered in a suitcase. The second case involved domestic violence in which a Chinese man murdered his wife and fled the scene with their young daughter - who the press later dubbed 'Pumpkin' when she was found abandoned in Melbourne, Australia. The authors discuss how news and current affairs programmes decontextualise 'Asian' stories to portray a clear divide between the 'New Zealand' public and the separate 'Asian other'. Asians are portrayed as a homogenous group and the media fails to distinguish between Asians as victims of crimes as a separate category to Asians as perpetrators of crimes. This may have consequences for the New Zealand Asian communities and the wider New Zealand society as a whole.

Pacific Journalism Review, vol.14(2), pp.183 - 204
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2007–2012 Pacific Media Centre. Pacific Media Centre is part of the Creative Industries Research Institute, AUT University.