China’s Politburo Standing Committee is posturing ahead of a crucial once-in-a-decade leadership transition, at the cost of press freedom.
According to AFP, two Chinese editors from ‘outspoken’ newspapers were relieved of their posts, angering press freedom groups. This underlines China’s ever tightened controls on the media which are mostly state-run. Shanghai’s Oriental Morning Post and Guangzhou-based New Express are not. The publisher and deputy editor of the Shanghai newspaper – Lu Yan and Sun Jian – were reportedly removed Wednesday. New Express’ Chief editor Lu Fumin was reassigned.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) was ‘deeply concerned’ saying in a statement that, “the upcoming change in leadership within China’s Politburo Standing Committee is have a chilling effect on press freedom within the country, with a heightened censorship regime swiftly censoring and punishing any independent political commentary.”
Chinese censors prevented media from covering a fatal high-speed train crash in eastern China in 2011. The public criticized the government for overlooking safety concerns in the rush to build the world’s biggest high-speed rail network.