Outspoken weekly to be published again today

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 July, 2017, 8:58am

New Bingdian expected to criticise article which led to five-week ban

The once-outspoken Bingdian Weekly will return to mainland news-stands today after a five-week break, and it will carry a front-page criticism of a controversial article published in the supplement's previous incarnation.

Bingdian is a four-page supplement in the China Youth League's China Youth Daily that had a reputation for in-depth reporting.

It was banned in late January by propaganda officials in part for carrying an article by Professor Yuan Weishi from Guangdong, questioning the official interpretation of historical events and cautioning against nationalism in the study of Chinese history.

The closure made international headlines and prompted a group of retired senior officials and another group of intellectuals to petition for Bingdian's resumption in two high-profile open letters addressed to the country's top leadership.

A source said yesterday that the relaunched version would carry a 10,000-word attack on Professor Yuan's views written by Zhang Haipeng, a 67-year-old historian and former head of the China Academy of Social Sciences' Modern China Research Institute, a source said yesterday.

The article was ordered by authorities as a condition for the supplement's revival. It is widely understood that Professor Yuan's article was a contributing factor but not the full reason for the paper's temporary demise.

The content will include an interview with renowned Tsinghua University art professor Chen Danqing about Italian Renaissance art and his thoughts on Chinese and Italian culture.

Former Bingdian editors Li Datong and Lu Yuegang had planned to use the article before the controversy surrounding the paper began.

Sources said there also would be a brief statement apologising for Bingdian's suspension, but that two comment columns which offered short, witty comments on the news of the past week had been dropped.

A source close to the newspaper said four young reporters who had refused to accept the action against Bingdian had resigned from the supplement's team immediately after the China Youth Daily party committee announced Bingdian would resume without Li and Lu.

Last week, a team of leftist academics held a seminar specifically to criticise Professor Yuan's article and accuse Li of treating the paper as his own property.

Li said the public would judge the editorial policy of the relaunched Bingdian by the content of its next edition.

'It's hard to predict what its editorial style will be and how far the editorial policy will go, considering the [editorial staff] didn't have enough time to prepare a new edition within such a short time after the decision to resume publishing was announced two weeks ago,' he said.