China Censorship Protests Flare

Alexander F. Yuan/AP

A New Year edition of Southern Weekly, center, published on Thursday Jan. 3, 2013, is exhibited at a newsstand in Beijing, China, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. In a rare move, a group of Chinese journalists at the Guangdong newspaper known for its edgy reporting are openly confronting state censors after the paper was forced to turn a sharp editorial calling for constitutional rule into a tribute praising the Communist Party in its reputed New Year’s Message.

Chinese journalists have attracted widespread support for their protest against alleged censorship at the Southern Weekly—considered one of the country’s “most daring” newspapers. Several hundred people gathered outside the paper’s headquarters Monday in frustration over a New Year’s editorial that was changed from a call for expanded legal rights to a pat on the Chinese government’s back. While rumors that the Southern Weekly’s staff staged a strike are unconfirmed, calls to the newsroom Monday went unanswered, something that—according to a receptionist who attempted to put a call through—“has never happened before.”