China Feature: Week in Review --- Pollution Chokes Beijing, Censorship Chokes a Major Newspaper (Lin)
In a possible test for new Chinese leader Xi Jinping's views on media freedom, the political effects continue from censorship of the leading newspaper Southern Weekend, after authorities banned a New Year’s editorial, “Chinese Dream, A Dream of Constitutionalism”.
An open letter signed by prominent academics has called on a top propaganda official in southern China to resign over allegations that he unjustifiably censored the comment.
The letter by the academics threatened to undermine the Communist Party’s effort to put away the editorial, but authorities have held the line. Southern Weekly was forced to announce that the published editorial was not tampered and apologise for some "spelling mistakes" in a rush work. The Central Propaganda Department ordered mainstream media to carry an official editorial from the Global Times, a party-controlled newspaper, saying any reference to wide-spread version of “constitutionalism” had been a mistake and also spoke of manipulation by outside powers. When Beijing News refused to carry the official editorial, it was threatened with dissolution.