Magazine 'adjusted' for stories on reform

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 March, 1999, 12:00am

A popular Beijing magazine has been ordered to suspend publication as punishment for running too many political articles.

Fangfa, known for pushing the limits with its calls for reform, was ordered by the State Press and Publishing Bureau last week to cancel its April issue and stop printing to undergo 'readjustment'.

The magazine, which has appeared since 1988, is registered as a natural science magazine.

'Our magazine was accused of deviating from the assigned field and the proportion of social science articles was too high,' an editor of the magazine said.

'We were told by high-level officials that if we wanted to resume publishing it would be on the condition that articles mainly dealing with natural science would be published.' Editors said the development was not drastic, as officials had demanded only a content reshuffle, not a staff purge.

But one said: 'It is understood that if their censorship order was not followed, a personnel reshuffle may follow.' Staff were confident the magazine would not be shut indefinitely since it was very popular among intellectual circles.

Authorities threatened to shut the magazine last year after it published a series of articles on political reform.

The magazine fended off censors and continued to print articles which disturbed conservative ideologues in Beijing. Among them was an article co-written by a member of the banned opposition China Democracy Party.