Media Outlets Protest State Editorial on Southern Weekly

Media Outlets Protest State Editorial on Southern Weekly

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Major Chinese media outlets today are showing solidarity with the Southern Weekly strikers, in an unprecedented display of resistance against official censorship by the Chinese government.  All five of China's major web portals are carrying a mandatory Global Times editorial criticizing the Southern Weekly strikers, but adding disclaimers that the portals themselves do not agree with the viewpoints expressed in this editorial. 

Meanwhile, Weibo users have been sharing a post from a man named Xu Jingya who claims to have found at least seven major news outlets sneaking acrostics onto their front pages to spell out sentences like "Have courage Southern Weekend" (Nan fang zhou mo jia you / 南方周末加油). I have not managed to verify any of these myself, however — if they were there, they seem to be gone already.

It is particularly amazing to see web portals taking part in a protest against censorship – these companies are some of the largest online business in the world, and they rely on numerous licenses from the Chinese government in order to operate.  The web portals are all private companies rather than state-owned media, but, as the Southern Weekend case illustrates, state-owned newspapers in China are often more rebellious than for-profit companies.  Just two weeks ago, they appeared to welcome new obligations for censoring social media when China's legislature promulgated a law tightening controls in the internet.

More thoughts on these events later, but for now here is a sampling of some of these disclaimers, as well as the links to the original sources (censors, may, of course, remove or block access to these pages quickly).

Disclaimers:

Sohu:  "DISCLAIMER: ALL INFORMATION FROM OTHER MEDIA IS REPOSTED, IT DOES NOT REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THIS WEB SITE" http://star.news.sohu.com/20130107/n362687032.shtml

SINA: "DISCLAIMER: SINA PUBLISHED THIS ARTICLE IN ORDER TO FULLY DELIVER INFORMATION; HOWEVER THIS COMPANY DOES NOT SHARE THE OPINIONS OR ENDORSE THE CONTENT EXPRESSED ABOVE" http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2013-01-07/003225969100.shtml

163.com: "DISCLAIMER: ALL INFORMATION FROM OTHER MEDIA IS REPOSTED, IT DOES NOT REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THIS WEB SITE" [Wording is identical with Sohu] http://news.163.com/13/0107/15/8KKII9R000014JB6.html

QQ/Tencent: "DESPITE THE PUBLICATION OF THIS ARTICLE , TENCENT DOES NOT SHARE THE OPINIONS OR ENDORSE THE CONTENT EXPRESSED ABOVE" http://news.qq.com/a/20130107/001808.htm

Phoenix (this is a Hong Kong-based media company): "DISCLAIMER OF RESPONSIBILITY: THIS ARTICLE REPRESENTS ONLY THE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR, AND NOT THAT OF PHOENIX.   PHOENIX HAS NOT VERIFIED THE REPORTING, WORDS, OR CONTENT OF THE STORY.  THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE WHOLE OR ANY PART OF ITS CONTENT, ITS WORDS, ITS ACCURACY, OR THEIR TOTALITY, NOR ITS TIMELINESS.  READERS, PLEASE TAKE THIS AS A REFERENCE, AND PLEASE CHECK THE FACTS YOURSELF." http://news.ifeng.com/mainland/detail_2013_01/07/20892139_0.shtml

Comments
8
Kim's Uncle
January 30, 2013 at 07:37

Yes it is strange no wu Mao crowd in here! They can’t come up with an excuse to mis-direct and misinform?

phil
January 13, 2013 at 23:34

Regarding China CCP 50 centers! FYI, what we are suspecting  is confirmed and China would be 20-30 times bigger
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20982985
Excerpt: (read rest of the story for more)
"Vietnamese propaganda officials have admitted deploying people to engage in online discussions and post comments supporting the Communist Party's policies.
The party has also confirmed that it operates a network of nearly 1,000 "public opinion shapers".
They are assigned with the task of spreading the party line.
The tactic is similar to China's model of internet moderators who aim to control news and manipulate opinion."

JohnX
January 12, 2013 at 12:15

Development leads to inflation. Wealthier citizens leads to more political discourse.
 
These are apparent truths throughout history. If China can modernize and improve its citizens economic lives without either of the above occuring then I will be very suprised.
 
I would also ask my Government to learn how they did it.

Girish
January 11, 2013 at 16:24

Chinese Political reform is a time bomb which if not handled properly, could lead to the reverse of all the growth being made by China and can also bring great losses to the FDI being made into China.
But before anything would happen, CPC/PLA would wage a war with its neighbours to divert attentions from internal politcal issues and  to external ones.
China is getting costly very fast and older even faster. There are massive challanges CPC is going to face in future with low growth rates, shrinking labour forces, loosing export markets and touch competitions from other develeping countires in manufactuting. 
Real test of CPC has just begin..with internal as well as external challange.
 

JohnX
January 10, 2013 at 07:52

I have noticed that too on almost all posts that were too close to the bone for China as they were cases of China shooting itself in the foot.
 
Then the silence is deafening, there never seem to be posters explaining these actions from a Chinese viewpoint to other readers. No personal views on these matters, etc. No use of soft power then I note.
 
Its one of the reasons that I really think that some of these commentators must work for the Chinese Government as they never seem to have a personal view on anything, its always the states view or dead silence.
 
It would be an interesting area of study as in many posts there is a lot of noise by certain commentators and in others its dead silence like no Chinese poster seems to touch the issue with a ten foot barge pole.
 
If I was a conspiracy freak, I might actually believe that some of the posters like John Chan and Liang1a actually work for the CIA so as to work up hatred against China as they don't seem to have any views about Chinese interests at all except to personally attack the non China supporting commentators. :)ASG

Leonard R.
January 9, 2013 at 15:42

God bless those brave people. They are risking everything for something most of us take for granted every day. Incidents like this teach us the problem with China is not its people. It is their government. 
 
Predicted outcome? Beijing will smooth this over. It will place new hard-liners in each publication to make sure it doesn't happen again. Then one-by-one, the leaders of the protest will eventually vanish from view.

Reason
January 9, 2013 at 12:33

The wind blows and a tumble weed passes by.
No sign of any CPC supporters on this thread.  This is much too close to the bone.
Better wait for government directives on how to respond to this, no?

Oro Invictus
January 8, 2013 at 11:35

CDT just published the latest directive from the propaganda ministry in regards to the incident and it is quite interesting. 
 
Central Propaganda Department: Urgent Notice Concerning the Southern Weekly New Year’s Message Publication Incident: Responsible Party committees and media at all levels must be clear on three points related to this matter: (1) State-run media is an unwavering basic principle; (2) This mishap at Southern Weekly has nothing to do with Guangdong Propaganda Department Head Tuo Zhen; (3) This incident’s development is due to the meddling of hostile outside forces. Every responsible work unit must demand that its department’s editors, reporters, and staff discontinue voicing their support for Southern Weekly online. Starting tomorrow, media and websites in all locales must prominently republish the Global Times editorial “Southern Weekly’s ‘Message to Readers’ Is Food for Thought Indeed.” (January 7, 2013)
 

http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2013/01/ministry-of-truth-urgent-notice-on-southern-weekly/

 
The insecurity which permeates this directive is not particularily unusual, but the increasing frequency with which the PRC government is citing "hostile outside forces" as the cause of all the country's ills (not even going to get into the irony of a nation which claims others have "Cold War mindsets" putting forth these accusations) is intriguing. Such attempts to divert public attention is hardly new for the CPC, but that such base tactics' usage has been increasing does not bode well for the PRC.

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