The Irish Independent falsely claimed that Irish president Michael Higgins avoided talking about human rights with Chinese president Xi Jinping.
The article making those claims is no longer published at the Independent’s website, but iMediaEthics found a Google Cache of the article republished on campus.ie. The article stated in part:
“President Michael D Higgins didn’t raise any human rights concerns when meeting with the President of China, Xi Jinping, yesterday.
“Despite the widespread expectation that Mr Higgins would discuss China’s record on human rights, the President stuck to his cultural and economic script.”
Below, see a screenshot of the cached article.
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On Dec. 12, the Independent posted a retracton seemingly admitting that it even knew Higgins talked about human rights before it published its erroneous story. The retraction said in part, “President Higgins did raise and discuss human rights issues with President XI Jinping at a meeting in Beijing yesterday and that he confirmed this fact to Irish media, including the Irish Independent after the meeting.”
The full retraction:
“In the Irish Independent and Independent online, of Wednesday 10th December, it was stated that “President Higgins avoids human rights issues in China”.
“The Irish Independent accepts that this is entirely incorrect and we can confirm that President Higgins did raise and discuss human rights issues with President XI Jinping at a meeting in Beijing yesterday and that he confirmed this fact to Irish media, including the Irish Independent after the meeting.
“We unreservedly apologise for this error.”
iMediaEthics is writing to Higgins’ office and the Independent for comment.