I wonder how long and how far central government will tolerate this dissent.
BBC: “Journalists at a major Chinese paper, Southern Weekly, have gone on strike in a rare protest against censorship.
The row was sparked last week when the paper’s New Year message calling for reform was changed by propaganda officials.
Staff wrote two letters calling for the provincial propaganda chief to step down. Another row then erupted over control of the paper’s microblog.
Supporters of the paper have gathered outside its office, reports say.
Some of the protesters carried banners that read: “We want press freedom, constitutionalism and democracy”.
Police did not interfere with the protesters outside the paper’s offices, according to reports.
“The Nanfang [Southern] Media Group is relatively willing to speak the truth in China so we need to stand up for its courage and support it now,” Ao Jiayang, one of the protesters, told Reuters news agency.
If the Southern Weekly strike continues for any length of time, this scandal will create a major headache for China’s new leader, Xi Jinping. Since he took the reins of power in Beijing, Mr Xi has generated kudos for his seemingly laid-back, open style of leadership. But the Southern Weekly uproar will force him to reveal his hand when it comes to censorship.
Will he support Tuo Zhen, the zealous propaganda chief who ignited the fracas at Southern Weekly by censoring its editorial message? The highly-popular newspaper has experienced run-ins with government censors in the past, but its stellar reputation has also allowed it to publish hard-hitting reports on a wide range of sensitive topics, from working conditions at Foxconn factories to the spread of HIV in China’s rural areas.
Other major Chinese media outlets have been forced to toe the government line in recent years, leaving Southern Weekly unrivalled in its pursuit of top-level investigative journalism. If Mr Xi allows Southern Weekly’s special status to be wiped away, he risks tarnishing his carefully cultivated reputation as a humble man of the people.
Southern Weekly is perhaps the country’s most respected newspaper, known for its hard-hitting investigations and for testing the limits of freedom of speech, says the BBC’s Martin Patience in Beijing.
Chinese media are supervised by so-called propaganda departments that often change content to align it with party thinking.”
via BBC News – China newspaper journalists stage rare strike.