(Image source: Sina Weibo / South China Morning Post)

 

 

BY ZACH TOOMBS

 

 

A show of resistance Monday against China’s tight grip on its journalists. A relatively progressive Chinese newspaper, Southern Weekend, is on strike and drawing public support after saying “no” to state censorship.

 

Southern Weekend staffers say almost 20 articles in each edition of their weekly paper are regularly revised by Communist Party censors. But it was a New Year’s Day editorial about political reform — entirely rewritten by Guangdong Province propaganda chief Tuo Zhen that prompted protest. [Video: NTDTV]

 

The BBC’s Martin Patience reports from outside the Southern Weekend’s offices in Guangzhou.

 

“Now, this strike is significant, because It’s believed to be the first strike of its kind among staff from a major Chinese newspaper in over 20 years.”

 

As the South China Morning Post shows, public supporters gathered outside the paper’s office with signs calling for the propaganda chief’s resignation and with flowers — white and yellow chrysanthemums, to be exact, flowers meant to symbolize mourning. In a sign of the times, photos posted to China’s Sina Weibo microblog site showed crowds of protesters.

 

But that’s not to say Chinese authorities didn’t at least try to erase signs of public protest from the Internet.

 

One enterprising Weibo user posted to Twitter to show authorities had blocked online searches for any of the characters that made up Southern Weekend’s Mandarin name: 南方周末.

 

The row over media censorship presents a unique challenge for President Xi Jinping and the rest of China’s new leadership, installed just two months ago. With that timing in mind, hopes for censorship reform are relatively high. [Video: The Telegraph]

 

Zhan Jiang, a journalism professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, tells the Los Angeles Times: "This is happening at a good time because leaders have just taken their posts … There's a power vacuum."

 

But if new leaders do have less media censorship in mind for China, it hasn’t shown yet. A law passed just last month forces Internet users to register their real names — doing away with anonymity that had given citizens at least some assurance of safety when criticizing their own government.

Chinese Newspaper Protests Tight Government Censorship

by Zach Toombs
0
Transcript
Jan 7, 2013

Chinese Newspaper Protests Tight Government Censorship

(Image source: Sina Weibo / South China Morning Post)

 

 

BY ZACH TOOMBS

 

 

A show of resistance Monday against China’s tight grip on its journalists. A relatively progressive Chinese newspaper, Southern Weekend, is on strike and drawing public support after saying “no” to state censorship.

 

Southern Weekend staffers say almost 20 articles in each edition of their weekly paper are regularly revised by Communist Party censors. But it was a New Year’s Day editorial about political reform — entirely rewritten by Guangdong Province propaganda chief Tuo Zhen that prompted protest. [Video: NTDTV]

 

The BBC’s Martin Patience reports from outside the Southern Weekend’s offices in Guangzhou.

 

“Now, this strike is significant, because It’s believed to be the first strike of its kind among staff from a major Chinese newspaper in over 20 years.”

 

As the South China Morning Post shows, public supporters gathered outside the paper’s office with signs calling for the propaganda chief’s resignation and with flowers — white and yellow chrysanthemums, to be exact, flowers meant to symbolize mourning. In a sign of the times, photos posted to China’s Sina Weibo microblog site showed crowds of protesters.

 

But that’s not to say Chinese authorities didn’t at least try to erase signs of public protest from the Internet.

 

One enterprising Weibo user posted to Twitter to show authorities had blocked online searches for any of the characters that made up Southern Weekend’s Mandarin name: 南方周末.

 

The row over media censorship presents a unique challenge for President Xi Jinping and the rest of China’s new leadership, installed just two months ago. With that timing in mind, hopes for censorship reform are relatively high. [Video: The Telegraph]

 

Zhan Jiang, a journalism professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, tells the Los Angeles Times: "This is happening at a good time because leaders have just taken their posts … There's a power vacuum."

 

But if new leaders do have less media censorship in mind for China, it hasn’t shown yet. A law passed just last month forces Internet users to register their real names — doing away with anonymity that had given citizens at least some assurance of safety when criticizing their own government.

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