Rare protest over censorship after journalists' claim of interference

Tue, Jan 8, 2013, 00:00

Hundreds of supporters of one of China’s most liberal newspapers demonstrated outside its headquarters yesterday, backing a strike by journalists against interference by the provincial propaganda chief.

The rare anti-censorship protest happened in Guangzhou, capital of wealthy Guangdong, China’s most liberal province.

The outcry began late last week when reporters at the influential Southern Weekly newspaper accused censors of replacing an original New Year letter to readers that called for a constitutional government with another piece lauding the party’s achievements.

Police allowed the demonstration, suggesting the Guangdong government, led by newly appointed Hu Chunhua, a rising political star, may want to tread carefully in tackling public discontent over censorship.

The protesters, many of them youths, held signs with slogans such as “Freedom of expression is not a crime”. Others made speeches defending the paper and laid chrysanthemums to symbolically mourn the death of press freedom. – (Reuters)