News / Asia

People Turn to Web to Debate Chinese Censorship

A man uses a computer at an internet cafe in central Beijing, China, December 28, 2012.
A man uses a computer at an internet cafe in central Beijing, China, December 28, 2012.
VOA News
A debate about government censorship involving China's influential Southern Weekly magazine continues to generate discussion on popular  websites Tuesday. Despite efforts by online monitors to censor discussion, some prominent supporters of the publication found ways to send coded messages of support.

Li Chengpeng, a well-known blogger with more than six million followers on Weibo, China's Twitter-like service, commented on his post being deleted twice by censors.

“You can delete the world, but you cannot delete dignity,” he wrote.

Other users have posted similar messages, complaining that their posts had been “harmonized” - a Chinese expression that refers to online censorship of sensitive comments.

Such messages highlight the tightening of online censorship accompanying the standoff between journalists of the Southern Weekly and authorities, who allegedly changed the magazine's annual New Year address. The editorial, which originally called for constitutional reforms in China, was replaced with a piece that praised the Communist party.

Related - Chinese Paper Has Long History of Challenging Authorities

The censorship allegations have caused a stir online, with scholars and analysts calling for radical reform of the country's media management system.

“What we support is not just one newspaper, but it is the right of freedom of expression for citizens,” a Beijing-based user called One True Word wrote on his microblog account, “What we oppose is not just some ferocious government official, but a repulsive system that oppresses humanity.“

On his verified Weibo account, Zheng Tingxin, an editor at Southern People Weekly, owned by the same media group of Southern Weekly, posted a picture showing cameras being installed in front of the weekly's Guangzhou headquarters.

Hundreds of protesters had gathered in front of the magazine's office on Monday, bearing chrysanthemum and jasmine flowers and carrying banners in support of the publication.

On Tuesday, a scuffle broke out between supporters of the magazine and a smaller group of leftists holding posters of Chairman Mao and carrying banners that read “Support the Communist Party, support Maoism, and support the attacks against the traitor press.”

Related - Chinese Continue Protest Against Media Censorship

Such pro-party slogans echo allegations made by state-owned media that the protests have been orchestrated by “hostile foreign forces,” and that they will not impact on the way China manages the media.

“There is one common knowledge,” an editorial by the populist Global Times newspaper read. ”In the current political situation, the kind of "media freedom” these people's hearts aspire to is not possible in China. Chinese media can only develop in accordance with the reality in China, media reform ought to be a part of China's overall reform.”

In response, microblog messages shot back at what they say is the Chinese official media's hypocritical stance.

“Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, are they all hostile foreign forces?” A designer based in Beijing wrote on his microblog account.

So far, there has been no official comment from authorities on the alleged interference of propaganda department about the newspaper's new year editorial.

Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, urged authorities to respond.

“After several days of public ferment over the Southern Weekly affair, the case is not only a friction between the editorial and the management sides of the newspaper, but it has spread to the whole     Internet,” Hu wrote on Tuesday. “There has been no response from Chinese officials and I think there should be… ”

This standoff comes in the middle of a leadership shift that will end in March, when Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang will officially take the lead of China's government.

Some observers believe that the incident might give the leadership the chance to implement their calls for reform, which have intensified after Xi Jinping took over as the Communist party chief.

Zhang Xin, one of China's most successful real estate developers wrote on her microblog account that history is defined by the least anticipated events.

“Who would have thought that something like this Southern media incident could happen? How do we deal with it? The resolution to reform of the new leadership is at a test here," she said.  "Doesn't reform mean more openness? And, doesn't more openness mean more freedom? And, isn't more freedom but more realism?”

Media reports on Tuesday suggested that the magazine's editors are to meet with propaganda officials in an effort to resolve the dispute.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Charlie from: China
January 08, 2013 10:19 PM
Reform or revolution

In Response

by: Wangchuk from: NYC
January 11, 2013 10:43 AM
Ever since the CCP violently overthrew the KMT regime in 1949, the Party has engaged in censorship of the Chinese media. The Party believes the media should be the voice of the Party, not an independent critic of the govt. Censorship is in violation of the PRC Constitution but since when has the Party ever allowed the Constitution to prevent it from doing anything? There will never be genuine reform & genuine media freedom in China until the CCP is gone from power.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid