Daily News Ridiculed Chinese Man, He Says

     BROOKLYN (CN) – The New York Daily News faces libel claims for disparaging a man’s “ungraceful kung fu moves” in reporting on the dismissal of assault charges.
     Ziming Shen has been an infrequent subject of tabloid articles since his appearance at a 2011 court hearing on unrelated charges that he embezzled millions in federal funds meant for children’s lunches.
     Court records show that Shen got five years probation, plus a year of house arrest, in October 2013 after pleading guilty to funneling money through his Big Apple pre-school chain via the federal Child and Adult Food Care Program for bogus “food expenditures.”
     On Feb. 24, 2014 – a few months after that sentencing – a state court threw out charges that Shen had assaulted a photographer on Sep. 16, 2011.
     Shen, who was 56 at the time, says the Daily News “exposed him to ridicule” the next day by reporting: “A Brooklyn embezzler charged with karate chopping a news photographer walked out of court a free man on Tuesday after prosecutors punted the case.” It said Shen “went after shutterbugs,” and noted that his “ungraceful kung fu moves graced the cover of the Daily News.”
     The paper even interviewed a martial arts expert to critique Shen’s stance as “awful,” according to Shen’s complaint, filed May 13 in Kings County Supreme Court.
     Shen says “the defendant made a spectacle of the plaintiff, a private citizen, over the incident” and “falsely portrays plaintiff as guilty of criminal conduct.”
     The Daily News made much of its supposed “photographic evidence of his rampage,” but Shen says the image of Shen that the newspaper ran – of photographers snapping away at Shen with his leg in the air – makes no showing that he “assaulted any person and/or engaged in conduct that would qualify as a ‘rampage.'”
     Shen says the newspaper’s reporting “used racially biased language by stating that plaintiff who is a Chinese American used karate-style kicks and chops to assault others.”
     The Daily News has “completely rebuffed” Shen’s request for it to retract the defamatory statements, he says.
     Shen notes that Sing Tao Daily, a Chinese-language daily his complaint also names as a defendant, defamed him as well, running an article in May 2014 that falsely claimed that Shen “planned to flee to China.”
     In October 2013, U.S. District Judge Dora Irizarry ordered Shen’s co-conspirator, Joanna Fan, to pay the U.S. Department of Agriculture $2.2 million, and sentenced her to nearly five years in prison.
     Uncle Sam says Shen satisfied his court-ordered $2.2 million restitution payment this past September.
     Shen seeks unspecified damages for libel. He is represented by Enrico DeMarco.
     The Daily News did not respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

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