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

Volume 14, Issue 2

September, 2008

From page
183
to page
204
Baker, S., & Benson, J. (2008).The suitcase, the samurai sword and the Pumpkin: Asian crime and NZ news media treatment. Pacific Journalism Review, 14(2): 183-204.
Author(s): Sarah Baker, Jeanie Benson
Publication date: 
October, 2008

In 2005 and 2007, two high profile crimes were reported in the New Zealand media. The first case invovled 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.