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  • » 01/04/2013, 00.00


    Guangdong: journalists criticise Party propaganda and censorship

    Wang Zhicheng

    Press freedom "raped". Head of provincial propaganda under attack after forcing the publication of an editorial lauding party achievements and removing newspaper editorial calling for the implementation of the constitution. Open letter from journalists blocked online; their microblog threatened. The public worry the newspaper will be closed. The contradiction between Xi Jinping’s sermons, in praise of constitution, and the reality of the provinces, governed in a Stalinist way.

    Guangzhou (AsiaNews) - Journalists from a weekly magazine in Guangdong have criticized the interference of public authorities from the local propaganda office who forced them to publish an editorial exalting the Part's achievements, removing an article in praise of the Constitution and calling for its implementation.

    The episode is a first. Usually, journalists, fearing for their jobs, accept all the changes and the complaints that the Party imposes lying face down. Instead, this time they have even opened a page in a blog and have signed their letter of criticism. The page was immediately removed, however, and several of them diverted their demands to a personal microblog to continue criticism of what they call the "rape" of the autonomy of a newspaper editorial.

    By tradition, the first day of the year, the Southern Weekly (Nanfang Zhōumò) offers its readers a series of articles on the prospects of the New Year.

    One of the journalists, Su Yongtong, had prepared an editorial that was to have opened the edition. The title was "The dream of China, the dream of Constitutionalism", which stated that the Chinese could hope to realize their dreams if the constitution is implemented. The implementation of the constitution was one of the themes repeated by the new leader Xi Jinping during and after the Party Congress.

    But one day before the release, the provincial chief of propaganda, Tuo Zhen (see photo), who is also vice president of Xinhua, forced the newspaper to replace the editorial with another titled "Pursuing dreams," which claims the Chinese people are closer in achieving their dreams thanks to the painstaking efforts of the Party.

    The article by Su was then inserted, but with the title and contents changed. And also some references to democracy were deleted.

    In the open letter - later blocked - the journalists note that the editorial imposed by the Party also contains historical errors.

    After the open letter was removed, many journalists expressed their concerns through their personal microblog. But 15 of them received threats and were obliged to remove their posts.

    In addition to illustrating a new consciousness in the world of mass media, the incident also shows the biggest contradiction that Xi Jinping will face: the grand and beautiful words used in the official programs, alongside the decrepit and Stalinist practice of local authorities, contrast sharply with his sermons.

    The weekly  newspaper has a strong tradition of support for the people and to their fundamental human rights. Now its readers fear that the newspaper will be closed.


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    See also

    10/01/2013 CHINA
    Another newspaper attack on censorship: first cracks in Beijing regime
    The Beijing News in the wake of the Southern Weekend refuses to publish an article imposed by communist propaganda. After a long standoff, the government wins, but entire editorial staff protests online. Meanwhile back at the newsstand, albeit with some difficulty, the Guangzhou weekly that first started the protest against government censorship.

    09/03/2016 09:37:00 CHINA
    Caixin magazine censored for demanding freedom of speech

    The magazine is well known nationwide for its financial reporting. Frowned upon by the authorities, it has always managed to survive thanks to the support and respect of its readers. Interview with a delegate who calls for "free speech” at the National People’s Congress deleted. In response, the magazine publishes an article describing Party censorship.

    04/08/2006 CHINA
    Shanghai: publisher sentenced for four years over illegal paper

    The Chinese regime's media censorship is becoming more tough than ever: a businessman was fined and imprisoned because he published a weekly, "creating serious disruption on the market".

    18/08/2016 14:36:00 CHINA
    Chinese journalists ousted from maverick magazine sue government

    Senior editors at Yanhuang Chunqiu are suing the authorities that seized their magazine and published a fake issue. The matter is sensitive because the publication is loyal to the Communist party, the real one, not Xi Jinping’s.

    15/02/2006 CHINA
    Mao biographer against Beijing censorship

    The secretary of Mao and the former chief of the Propaganda Department are among 13 ex Communist officials who have urged the government to self-criticism and called upon it to reopen the Bingdian Weekly, shut down last month. They write: ""History proves that only an autocratic system needs a clamp on the press and wants to blind the masses forever."

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