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.