Southern Weekly incident update

There seem to be constant new developments what is now being referred to as the “New Year’s Greeting incident” at Guangdong’s Southern Weekly. Those new to the story can catch up here and here, and read the wrap-up at the Wall Street Journal.

Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao yesterday cited an unnamed “official source” as saying that Guangdong’s propaganda chief, Tuo Zhen (庹震), singled out over the past three days as responsible for the interference at Southern Weekly, was not in Guangdong when the incident occurred. According to the newspaper, the source said the action “had nothing to do with Guangdong’s provincial propaganda department.”

If this is true it leaves behind a great bit question: Whose decision was it?

A January 4 open letter protesting interference at Southern Weekly, the second following a letter from a group of former Southern Weekly journalists, continues to gather signatures. A confirmed list of the first batch of signers, obtained by the China Media Project yesterday, included 98 signatures made before 10 p.m. on January 4. Signers included Ai Xiaoming (艾晓明), a popular professor at Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University, and Southern Metropolis Daily founder and former editor-in-chief Cheng Yizhong (程益中).

The second confirmed list of signers, those signing before 10 a.m. on January 5, included 458 names. Among them were well-known Chinese blogger Bei Feng (北风) and Cui Weiping (崔卫平), a professor at Beijing Film Academy and a frequent contributor to Southern Weekly.

Signers of the letter represented a wide range of fields and backgrounds — journalists, academics, writers, students, lawyers, migrant workers, and even one name identified as “a citizen seeking freedom.”

Our deleted post archive shows that posts, like this one, about the Southern Weekly incident are being actively removed from social media in China.

Searches on Sina Weibo for Southern Weekly are now blocked, returning a message that reads: “According to relevant laws, regulations and policies the search results for ‘Southern Weekly’ cannot be shown.”

Apparently, searches in English for “Southern Weekend” and “Southern Weekly” are still fair game.

Below is the full Chinese-language version of the second open letter.











3 Comments to “Southern Weekly incident update”

  1. Dan Williams says:

    Hi from Boston,

    How can I send a message to the journalists and supporters in Guangdong that people in Boston/US support them–they are in our hearts and we so much respect their courage and commitment to their values for freedom of speech and the press and human liberty!!

    Dan Williams, Boston

  2. Dr. Jones Jr. says:

    More likely, Tuo Zhen “wasn’t there” as an excuse to escape culpability in the (unlikely) event that the central government decides to do anything about this incident aside from cover it up. In that case–and if there is any punishment to be had–this will all have inevitably been the fault of some clueless “temporary worker”.

  3. Andao says:

    It seems like the New Years Greetings are pretty big deals across the newspapers. Why on earth wouldn’t Tuo Zhen be in Guangdong during this important time? That might be an even bigger story, or at least the one the Party could twist in order to see him removed (dereliction of duty)

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