China intensifies crackdown on media protests

Featured - January 11th, 2013
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Chinese authorities have intensified a crackdown on media protests over the government’s censorship of Southern Weekly, following rare demonstrations for press freedom.

Police on Thursday dragged away protesters who had been gathering in front of the newspaper’s headquarters since Monday, reports the Financial Times, when the Publicity Department of the Communist Party’s Central Committee issued a notice banning independent reporting or commentary about the Southern Weekly incident.

According to the Asahi Shimbun, the committee also ordered the the Beijing News, a Beijing daily formerly associated with Southern Weekly, to carry an editorial that appeared in the Jan. 7 edition of the Global Times, which is affiliated with the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, People’s Daily.

“Any media organization in China that confronts the government will end up being the loser,” the a part of the editorial read.

The editorial argued that the Publicity Department was not directly involved in the rewriting of the Southern Weekly’s piece for the new year and even accused blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng of supporting media personnel who criticized the government.

China is tightening its grip to put pressure on Chinese media organizations to prevent public criticism from spreading.

Washington expressed concern over the heavy handed crackdown. “Censorship of the media is incompatible with China’s aspirations to build a modern information-based economy and society,” a US State Department spokeswoman said.