Odd stirrings online amid official silence as authorities plan Southern Weekly's future
Plenty of coverage to read today of yesterday's peacefully rally in support of Southern Media Group, arising from outrage after one propaganda official tossed out the highly regarded Southern Weekly's 2013 new year address and snuck in his own (factually inaccurate) version in its place.
-- Muzzling the media
-- Southern Weekly censorship causes nationwide condemnation
-- Chinese Journalists Demand Resignation of Provincial Propaganda Chief
-- Online and Off, Social Media Users Go to War for Freedom of Press in China
-- Media Outlets Protest State Editorial on Southern Weekly
-- Chinese protest over news censorship
-- Southern Weekly Editorial Staff Goes On Strike (Updated)
-- Calls for Press Freedom in China’s South
In addition to photos collected here yesterday, New York-based online activist Wen Yunchao has aggregated well over a hundred photos uploaded by netizens at the protest. Find a few videos of yesterday's rally below.
Monday evening, word began to spread online that propaganda officials from across the country decided to stick with their version of the story, which takes the responsibility for the censored new year address off Tuo Zhen.
They also were said to have decided that unspecified meddling by unnamed "foreign powers" has been fueling the backlash within Southern Media Group and what we saw on the street in Guangzhou yesterday.
Communist Party of China mouthpiece People's Daily's soft power project, Global Times, went with a similar message yesterday in an editorial which drew widespread ridicule for naming New York-based activist Chen Guangcheng as one of many online instigators behind the protests.
This was likely in reference to comments Chen made in an interview with Deutsche Welle's Chinese service last week in which he asks, rhetorically, what propaganda officials in Guangzhou were thinking.
The other rumour floating around last night was that newspapers across China would republish the Global Times editorial, having been ordered to do so by their respective local propaganda handlers. Today, only a handful of newspapers ran the piece, including two based in Guangzhou but neither belonging to Southern Media Group.
Also, Beijing-based real estate magnate Ren Zhiqiang was 'taken to tea' by domestic security police late Monday evening just two hours after a microblog post which refers indirectly to Southern Weekly and mentions press and speech freedoms and constitutional and human rights.
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