Censorship row shows China’s tight grip on media


Photo Credit: johntrathome Creative Commons

GUANGZHOU, China (OfficialWire) — China’s new Communist Party leaders want to appear more open, but they’re not about to give up control of the media. That’s the lesson of a dustup involving an influential newspaper whose staff briefly rebelled against especially heavy-handed censorship.

The staff of Southern Weekly returned to work after some controls were relaxed, but public demands for the ouster of the top censor were ignored. Some observers took solace in the fact that no journalists were punished — at least not yet.

“The fact that no one is being immediately punished is a victory. That is not insignificant,” said Steve Tsang, a China politics expert at the University of Nottingham in Britain. “It’s a smart use of the party’s power but it’s not actually making any compromise in terms of the basic fundamental principles of the party staying fully in control on anything that really matters.”

China’s new leader, Xi Jinping, has raised reformist hopes and struck an especially populist note in vowing to tackle official corruption. In an early December speech he praised China’s constitution and said people’s rights must be respected, comments that helped set the stage for the censorship clash.

Read More at OfficialWire . By Didi Tang.

Photo Credit: johntrathome (Creative Commons)


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