Quantcast
Latest Stories

China celebrities back censorship protest


A woman views the Chinese social media website Weibo at a cafe in Beijing on April 2, 2012. AFP FILE PHOTO

BEIJING—China’s blogosphere and celebrities—many with millions of followers—Tuesday backed journalists at a newspaper embroiled in a censorship row after hundreds of people held a rare protest demanding greater press freedom.

The support came after hundreds of people in Guangzhou gathered Monday at the office of Southern Weekly, a popular liberal newspaper which had an article urging reforms to uphold people’s rights censored by an official.

Wang Keqin, an investigative reporter on another newspaper, posted Tuesday on China’s Twitter-like Weibo service: “A black hand closes heavy, black curtain, blocking brightness and fresh air as there is no weekend any more in the south.”

The paper’s Chinese name translates as Southern Weekend but it is widely known as Southern Weekly in English.

Yao Chen, an actress who has 32 million followers on her Weibo account, earlier posted the paper’s logo and quoted Russian dissident Alexandr Solzhenitsyn: “One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world”.

Fellow actor Chen Kun, who has 27 million followers, replied: “I am not that deep, and don’t play with words, I support the friends at Southern Weekly”.

The dispute over Southern Weekly comes amid pledges of change from the new leadership, headed by president-in-waiting Xi Jinping, which has promised a more open style of governance since the Communist Party congress in November.

Chinese media outlets are subject to directives from government propaganda departments, which often suppress news seen as negative by the ruling Communist Party, but some publications take a more critical stance.

Police allowed Monday’s demonstration, which mainly included young people carrying posters and scattering chrysanthemums, a flower used at funerals in China which has become the protesters’ symbol for the loss of press freedom.

The gathering followed an open letter from newspaper’s staff which called for the resignation of provincial propaganda official Tuo Zhen, who was said to have removed the New Year message and replaced it with a weaker article.

Another letter, signed by scores of prominent academics from across China, emerged over the weekend calling for the immediate removal of Tuo and for greater press freedom.

Prominent dissident Hu Jia posted a photo of himself at the paper’s Beijing office on Monday evening, calling himself one of many who visited to show support.

Blogger Li Chengpeng, who has 6.5 million followers, wrote: “We don’t need tall buildings . . . the world’s second largest GDP . . . aircraft carriers, but we need a newspaper that speaks the truth.

He continued: “All the major countries that command respect in the world have a newspaper that is permitted to speak the truth.”

A commentary in the English-language Global Times, which is close to the ruling party, on Tuesday said authorities would not allow radical changes in media policy.

“The country is unlikely to have the ‘absolutely free media’ that is dreamed of by those activists,” it said. “The Southern Weekly issue will not be concluded with a surprise ending.”


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Celebrities , Censorship , China , Politics , press freedom , protest




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
Advertisement

News

  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  • Classmates celebrating 60th birthday among missing in ferry sinking
  • Sports

  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement