Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Confusing story out of China

The story and the situation are confusing. Check back in the "Comments" section for updates as journalists learn more about how much, if any, the Chinese newspapers gained and how much, if anything, the government gave up. But really, advocating constitutional rights? What should you expect?

By the way, the Chinese news agency, Xinhua has published nothing about this.

China censorship row: 'Deal' at Southern Weekly
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 propaganda chief step down after a New Year message was changed.

Reports said that the provincial Communist Party chief, high-flier Hu Chunhua, had intervened to defuse the situation…

The row began when a New Year message in the paper - a well-respected publication also known as Southern Weekend - that had called for guaranteed constitutional rights was changed by censors prior to publication.

On Tuesday, an editorial from the state-run Global Times blaming 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…

Beijing News promoting southern porridge
[O]nline reports citing microblogs suggest the row may have widened to include a well-known daily, Beijing News

[A] careful reading of the Beijing News fuels speculation that something is afoot at the paper. The main page of its website features a story on the wonders of warm rice porridges from southern China that can soothe the soul in the depths of winter.

"During social disturbances, we should really cherish warmth and this bowl of porridge," the article reads.

Correspondents say that it could be interpreted as a show of support for Southern Weekly

China Said to Crack Down on Censorship Protests
People across China have been detained or questioned in recent days by security officers for publicly supporting the journalists at the Southern Weekend newspaper who have been protesting strict censorship, according to a human rights group and online posts discussing the plights of some detainees...

Chinese Human Rights Defenders said about two dozen people have been detained by security officers since Jan. 8...

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