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.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
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).
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