Journalists at a leading Chinese newspaper have called for a chief newspaper censor to resign, in a rare protest against censorship.
Prominent former staff and interns at the Southern Weekly urged the official to quit after he changed an editorial
into a Communist Party tribute. They accused him of being dictatorial in an era of growing openness .
The row at the Southern Weekly - known for hard-hitting investigations and testing the limits of censorship - erupted after a new
year editorial calling for guaranteed constitutional rights was changed at the last minute to one extolling the virtues of the Communist Party.
In two open letters, 35 prominent former staff and 50 interns at the paper have demanded the
resignation of the provincial propaganda chief in Guangdong, Tuo Zhen.
BBCChinese.com editor Zhuang Chen says it is thought to be the first time there has been a direct showdown between newspaper staff and party officials.
The row comes as
the website of another liberal journal was closed after it ran an essay urging political reform. The influential online magazine, Yanhuang Chunqiu (or China Through the Ages), had called on China's leaders to guarantee constitutional rights such as
freedom of speech and assembly.
Update: Street Protest
8th January 2013. See article
Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the headquarters of a southern newspaper on Monday in a rare display of public anger over China's
draconian censorship regulations. Many held signs calling for greater press freedom and expressing support for the newspaper's editorial employees, some of whom have gone on strike against the provincial propaganda authority's interference with a recent
Widely circulated pictures on microblogs show large groups of young people holding up handwritten anti-censorship messages and grappling with police.
This incident could mark the first time in more than two decades that the
editorial staff of a major newspaper have openly staged a strike against government censorship, reported the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.
10th January 2013. See
article from bbc.co.uk
Reports from China suggest journalists at a
newspaper embroiled in a censorship row are returning to work after an agreement was reached.
Staff at Southern Weekly had demanded that a top censor and propaganda chief step down after a New Year message was changed.
On Tuesday, editorial
propaganda from the state-run Global Times blamed the incident on activists outside the media industry was republished on multiple news sites - the result, according to reports, of a government directive. But several major news portals carried a
disclaimer saying they did not endorse the piece and a number of newspapers did not run it, in an apparent show of solidarity.
Reports citing sources both from the paper's staff and people close them said a deal to end the dispute was agreed on
Tuesday evening. Thursday's edition would be published as normal and most staff would not be punished, Reuters reported.
However, online reports citing microblogs suggest the row may have widened to include a well-known daily, Beijing News.
Unconfirmed reports said its chief editor, Dai Zigeng, had resigned over pressure to publish the Global Times editorial.
27th November 2015. See
article from voanews.com
China has sentenced three human rights activists to harsh prison
terms for participating in an anti-censorship protest in 2013. The attorney for the three, Zhang Lei, told VOA that he is shocked and angered by the verdict, which gave a sentence of six years to activist Guo Feixiong.
Yuandong and Sun Desheng were sentenced to three years and 2½ years, respectively, for participating in the same demonstration.
The three were charged with gathering crowds to disturb social order and Guo received the additional charge of
picking quarrels and provoking trouble. Both charges are often used broadly against dissidents.
The protest they took part in was a weeklong peaceful demonstration in 2013 outside the headquarters of the Southern Weekly newspaper. The
demonstrators called on Beijing to give up censorship practices that affected the paper.
Zhang said he will be filing appeals for all three of his clients.