Morning Clicks

Southern Weekly standoff has ended and support rallies have tapered off after third day of protests

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 9:56am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 12:22pm

China abroad | China at home

On the Southern Media front, a small number of activists from various backgrounds continued to protest on the street outside Southern Weekly's offices in Guangzhou, even though a deal has been struck between propaganda officials tasked with censoring the newspaper and its employees, the terms of which seem to include the requirement that the latter keep their complaints to themselves.

However, Zuo Zhijian, director of features at Southern Media Group's 21st Century Herald's Shanghai office, revealed on his Sina Weibo microblog last night that censors killed an editorial commemorating the 30th anniversary of Southern Weekly's founding that was meant to run in the issue scheduled to hit stands today.

According to one microblogger, today's issue of Southern Weekly is two 4-page sections shorter than usual, absent its current affairs and commentary sections.

Also, famous-on-Sina-Weibo venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee appears to have been told by domestic security police to stop tweeting about Southern Weekly, following this microblog update about tea Wednesday night with this update stating he has decided that from now on he will only talk about the East, West and North of things, and only those days which fall between (inclusive of) Monday and Friday.

Wednesday may have seen a smaller crowd gathered outside Southern Weekly, but new photos taken by Twitter user @oubiaofeng suggest their banners seem to have grown in size and that several protesters rushed through the campus gates at one point and made it as far as the corridor of one building.


China abroad

Russia Today
-- Moscow, Beijing reconnect as reset with US fizzles Xi Jinping, the secretary-general of the Chinese Communist Party, underlined his country’s commitment to a Russian partnership when he noted that he and President Vladimir Putin "came to the unanimous conclusion” that a “comprehensive strategic partnership” between Moscow and Beijing remains the “top priority of their foreign policy."
-- Drone warfare priority in China-Japan standoff Maritime dominance appears to be turning into a high-tech, high-stakes arms race in the East China Sea. China and Japan are vying for power in the disputed territory - and it's drones that are quickly coming to the forefront of the race.

Wall Blog
-- China’s Twitter-like service Sina Weibo expands into English There have been hints of this for some time. Eighteen months ago it was being reported that Sina was actively preparing to launch its microblogging in the “US market…[in] about 2-3 months”. Clearly that did not happen. This time around it looks like it might.


China at home

China Media Project
-- China’s censorship row takes another ugly turn SCMP is now reporting that Dai's resignation was "verbal" and it is uncertain whether this has been accepted by Beijing propaganda authorities. Note, the authorities have a strong interest in maintaining Dai's presence as publisher until this boils over. What we need is word from Dai himself.
-- Porridge in support of Southern Weekly The piece is a loving tribute, yes, to porridge. In particular, to the porridge of the south. But it is really a song of love and support from The Beijing News to similarly embattled colleagues at Southern Weekly.

Christian Science Monitor
-- Will China end prison labor camps? 'Re-education through labor' has long allowed China to control dissent while circumventing the legal system. Critics worry about cosmetic change that may make it harder to monitor human rights violations.

Council on Foreign Relations
-- Desperately Seeking Xi Jinping A review of what Xi has said—not done, because unsurprisingly he actually hasn’t accomplished much of anything since he was named Communist Party General Secretary and president-elect just two months ago—suggests that trying to divine Xi’s inner-most desires is a relatively fruitless exercise.

-- Tim Cook in China to meet with government officials — and who else? The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology says Apple’s CEO is in town to discuss development in China and trends in the IT industry. It’s a pretty safe bet there are far more specific things Tim Cook wants to talk about.

Global Voices Online
-- China's Propaganda Department Threatens to Dissolve Beijing News The meaning of dissolving is not closing down. It means suspending, purging and reopening. In other words, all the staff who do not agree will be fired and the style of Beijing News will be totally different...

-- Eight smart trades if China goes bust While not its base case (SocGen thinks China’s economy will grow 7.3% this year), the bank said it was concerned global investors were too complacent about everything working out smoothly for the Chinese economy.
-- China sets eyes on thorium for 'clean' nuclear power generation A group of 140 PhD scientists, working full-time on thorium power at the Shanghai Institute of Nuclear and Applied Physics, is getting close to creating a new generation of thorium reactors that produce much less toxic waste and don’t blow their top like Japan’s Fukushima.

New York Times
-- Hong Kong Moves to Limit Information on Executives Little-noticed provisions in a package of proposed laws making their way through the local legislature would prevent the general public — including journalists and investors — from gaining access to the residential addresses and ID or passport numbers of directors of private companies in Hong Kong.

-- Bo Xilai trial moves a step closer Online, there was speculation that the announcement was simply a ruse to divert media attention from an ongoing row over press freedom that has now seen three days of protests in southeast China. However, Willy Lam, a politics expert from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said Mr Bo's trial could well be held in February.

Useless Tree
-- Confucian Constitutionalism in defense of Freedom of Expression Previously, I had not been particularly impressed with the efforts of contemporary Confucians to craft constitutional answers to the PRC's political problems.  They tend to be too deferential to centralized authority, unwilling to argue forcefully for protections of individual liberty against instrusions by the state.

Wall Street Journal
-- Face-Off in a Beijing Newsroom: An Insider’s Account The Beijing News’s publisher, Dai Zigeng, and editor-in-chief, Wang Yuechun, threatened to resign over authorities’ insistence that the paper publish an editorial from the nationalist-leaning tabloid Global Times that said supporters of Southern Weekly’s clash with censors were being actively supported by overseas human-rights activists.

-- 2013 Southern Weekly incident On January 1, 2013, Southern Weekly editorial department finalized all edits for 2013 New Year special at 3 am. Since New Year holiday starts from January 1, the five editors went back home, ending their three-day overtime work.

Zhang Dajun
-- 安全部门通过乌有之乡的组织网络和环球时报的舆论体系已经构建了自己的动员体系,在反日和南周事件中,这一动员体系已初步发挥作用。这帮人够阴险的 "Security departments have begun to use the Utopia website offline community and Global Times commentary to mobilise people for their own purposes," says the veteran Beijing-based activist "These mobilisation tactics have been used both during the anti-Japan protests and now with Southern Weekly. These guys are very sneaky."