China sees rare protest over censor
BEIJING - The Associated Press
A woman walks past a newsstand where magazines are displayed in Beijing. AP photoA dispute over censorship at a Chinese newspaper known for edgy reporting evolved yesterday into a political challenge for China’s new leadership as prominent scholars demanded a censor’s dismissal and hundreds of protesters called for democratic reforms.
The scholars and protesters were acting in support of the newspaper in its confrontation with a top censor after the publication was forced to change a New Year’s editorial calling for political reform into a tribute praising the ruling Communist Party. There were rumors circulated that at least one of the newspaper’s news departments was going on strike. Protesters gathered outside the offices of the newspaper in the southern city of Guangzhou and called for freedom of speech, political reform.
The protest came as 18 Chinese academics signed an open letter calling for the dismissal of Tuo Zhen, a provincial propaganda minister blamed for the censorship. The dispute comes six weeks after China installed a new generation of Communist Party leaders with current Vice President Xi Jinping at the helm.