Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Censorship announcement

The Chinese censors remove an article from a magazine's web site. The magazine's editors announce the removal. How many people wonder what the original article said?

Chinese magazine challenges government over censorship
One of China’s most respected current affairs magazines has lashed out at Communist party censorship of its work, just weeks after the president, Xi Jinping, demanded absolute loyalty from his country’s media.

An article on Caixin’s English-language website on Tuesday claimed the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) – which it labelled a “government censorship organ” – had ordered the removal of an interview posted on its Chinese-language website that focused on the issue of free speech.

In the purged interview, a prominent Shanghai academic and government adviser called Jiang Hong argued that advisers such as himself should “be free to give Communist party and government agencies suggestions on economic, political, cultural and societal issues”…

In response to that act of censorship, the magazine… took the highly unusual step of challenging the government in an article headlined: "Story about Adviser’s Free Speech Comments Removed from Caixin Website".

By Tuesday afternoon the English-language story denouncing the original article’s censorship had itself been removed from the internet and replaced by the message: “Sorry, page not found.”

Caixin’s decision to take on China’s censors comes less than a month after Xi, whose rise to power has seen a severe political tightening, made a high-profile visit to Chinese news outlets to demand their absolute loyalty.

David Bandurski, an expert in Chinese journalism from the University of Hong Kong, said… it was hard to predict whether Caixin would suffer serious sanctions over its decision to take on the Communist party’s censors.

“This could end with the removing of the piece and a stern warning,” he said. “[But] we are kind of throwing our assumptions out of the window with Xi Jinping.”

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