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Dai Zigeng, the Communist Party official who serves as publisher of The Beijing News, co-owned by Southern Media Group, announced his resignation last night after propaganda authorities forced the newspaper to print a Global Times editorial in today's edition, according to multiple statements made online early Wednesday morning by Beijing News journalists.
Global Times belongs to the Communist Party's People's Daily mouthpiece newspaper and the editorial in question, which appeared Sunday, tries to blame the recent resistance to censorship and interference by propaganda officials on meddling by 'foreign forces'.
Propaganda authorities issued an order this past weekend requiring an unknown number of daily newspapers throughout the country to run the editorial in their January 8 edition, but only a small number of newspapers complied.
According to statements made since yesterday by Chinese journalists, through a flurry of microblog posts many of which have since been deleted, newspapers that opted to not run the editorial are being forced to do so today.
This spurred an online outcry among Beijing News journalists early Wednesday morning. Cries of despair and anger and photos of the scene in the newsroom were quickly deleted from Sina Weibo and other platforms but preserved on Twitter, as were several messages from Beijing News staff who say they haven't given up fighting yet.
— 云林 (@cloudsforest) 1月 8, 2013
Another incident is born tonight: Beijing News 新京报 Incident.
— Yaxue Cao (@YaxueCao) 1月 8, 2013
according to Weibo propaganda officials say to Beijing News no printing without publishing the Global Times editorial. truth'll come out tmr
— Helen Gao (@Yuxin_Gao) 1月 8, 2013
Standoff at Beijing News (新京报): Party forcing it 2 publish GT's' article about SW, threatening shutdown “@beidaijin: 逼新京发环球屎文，以关闭报馆拒绝，僵持中。”
— Yaxue Cao (@YaxueCao) 1月 8, 2013
Beijing News reporters' weibo accounts, paper shut down after it refused to reprint Global Times editorial on Southern Weekend via @mranti
— Liz (@withoutdoing) 1月 8, 2013
Meanwhile at Southern Weekly, Guangdong Party Secretary Hu Chunhua is said to have intervened and settled the dispute; according to senior Phoenix TV reporter Rose Luqiu Luwei, the terms are that there will be no employee strike, this week's issue will be published on schedule, and copy will no longer be subject to prescreening by propaganda officials.
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Happy to say I'll be in Hong Kong for a month to teach my computational journalism class at HKU. Leaving Monday.
— jonathanstray (@jonathanstray) 1月 8, 2013
-- Street politics The gatherings outside Southern Weekend’s office have been relatively small: a few hundred people on Monday, January 7th, and at most about a hundred on Tuesday. But the rhetoric of the speakers who took turns to address the crowd appears to have grown bolder.
-- Editorial Ignites Freedom Of Press Debate In China A dispute over an editorial in a Chinese newspaper has widened into calls for more freedom of expression. Hundreds of people protested Monday calling for an open news media.
New York Review of Books
-- The Old Fears of China’s New Leaders I felt a shudder of déjà vu watching the mounting protests inside China this week of the Communist Party for censoring an editorial in Southern Weekend, a well-known liberal newspaper in the southern city of Guangzhou.
-- Solzhenitsyn, Yao Chen, and Chinese Reform The background is this: Southern Weekend is a newspaper with an independent streak, based in the southern city of Guangzhou. Last week, its editors and reporters went online to denounce a senior cadre in the Propaganda Department...
-- 人民网推出政务微博导航网站—政务通 The People's Daily website announces the launch of Zhengwutong.com, a thorough directory of microblog accounts belonging to various Chinese government departments, agencies, and individual officials.
-- Southern Weekend’s Stand: What It Is and What It Isn’t Guangdong’s new party secretary Hu Chunhua, as of now, is the favorite to replace Xi Jinping as China’s president in 2022. If he gets blood on his hands or gives an obvious victory to free speech agitators, his hopes could get dashed pretty quickly.
-- Southern Weekend, China, and the bubble The idea of Chinese journalists standing up for the right to report freely is a great story, and if I were running a newspaper I’d want something on it. The question is this: are we overstating the significance of the strike and/or misrepresenting what it’s about?