Three days after retiring, Southern Weekly in-house censor Zeng Li is dead. The story via SCMP:
Zeng Li had become a prominent figure during the weekly's protest against censorship in January. His farewell letter has been shared on Weibo thousands of times on Thursday and caused widespread soul-searching about the state of the media in China.
Japan’s highly respected daily The Asahi Shimbun suggested in an article on Monday that Xi Jinping was unhappy with the way the “media control division” handled last week’s Southern Weekly ordeal. Specifically, Xi was unhappy with the way Liu Yunshan, chief of the propaganda department and a longtime Hu Jintao guy, forced newspapers around the... Read more »
In Guangzhou recently, the German TV station Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF) was interviewing a young man about Southern Weekly when a team of plainclothes police allegedly swooped in and smuggled him into a white van. The description on the YouTube video from channel ChinaNewsChannal suggests that the officers kidnapped the man, Jiang Di, because he was giving the... Read more »
Sina Weibo was recently aflutter with Yi Nengjing, also known as Annie Yi, Inō Shizuka, and formerly Wu Jingy. As Tea Leaf Nation tells us, born in 1969 to a political family, Yi has been somewhat of an atypical pop star, often clashing with media and remaining outspoken even at the cost of potential endorsements. She’s taken... Read more »
China’s Internet censors are really outdoing themselves with the Southern Weekend scandal. Not only have they blocked searches for “Southern Weekend” on Sina Weibo and other microblogs, they’re making some attempts to block discussion within the Chinese diaspora.
Media reports say that some Southern Weekly journalists were told they could return to their former posts and that the paper would publish today, as normal. It's yet to arrive. We'll keep an eye on people who are in Guangzhou keeping an eye on this.
The Central Propaganda Department can force papers to run their government-line editorials, but even with the power vested in them by the Party, it can't determine where those op-eds appear.
Like, say, next to a humongous ad for pesticide control.
More than a few journalists and observers have averred the significance of the Southern Weekly "incident," but the actual story has appeared to fall short of their expectations. As I wrote two days ago, "But is this really a watershed moment for media rights in China, as some hope... or will we return to our jobs soon and let the more vested parties enter negotiations on the future of both Tuo Zhen and Southern Weekly?" There's nothing wrong with hoping, but as Zhongnanhai points out, sometimes we would do well to step back to view the story in its proper context.
Two big Southern Weekly updates this morning. First, it appears the ripples have spread to Beijing News, a sibling publication to Southern Weekly under the ownership of Nanfang Media Group, where the top publisher has resigned instead of publishing a pro-government editorial.
We just received a tip, one person removed, from the public relations office at the Nanfang Media Group that Southern Weekly has been cancelled. No new content will be published on the website or under the name “Southern Weekly” (also known as Southern Weekend). The Nanfang Group’s PR staff, which has been sequestered inside their office... Read more »