Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Beginning of Aftershocks

One ordnance issued by the Central Propaganda department amid the Southern Weekend incident was demanding all news media to publish an editorial drafted by the official Global Times to denounce the rebellion as being manipulated by 'overseas enemy forces'. Most media complied, some reluctantly.

Some media did not bend over to the ordnance the first day. However, authorities issued a final notice, news media must either comply today, or be taken down.

Li Ning of New Capital Weibo-ed that he was awaken by phone calls from colleagues who were rushing to the newsroom in the middle of night to defend the newspaper as human shield. A vote was cast at the scene with unanimous support to refuse publishing the aforementioned article passed down from the Propaganda Department. However, authorities published the article by brute force. The publisher of the paper Mr. Dai Zigeng tendered his resignation in protest to Mr. Yan Liqiang, a Deputy Director of the Propaganda Department on Beijing. Chief Editor Mr. Wang Yuechun also offered his resignation in protest. It may sounds ironic, but in theory the Propaganda Department is the owner of all media in China.

According to New Capital Daily staff, the raid was ordered by the Director of Propaganda Department Mr. Liu Qibao, and was approved by Mr. Liu Yunshan, one of the seven standing committee of the Politburo, and carried out by Mr. Yan Liqiang on behalf of Mr. Lu Wei, Director of the Beijing Municipal Propaganda Department.

The New Capital Daily was specifically target partially because of its past. The paper was founded as a joint project between the Bright (Guangming) Group and the Southern Group in 2003. Because of Bright Group's national status, the paper had permit to cover stories outside of its registration city Beijing. Its first chief editor was jailed in 2004, and the successes chief editor along two associate chief editors were fired in 2005. In 2011, the paper was realigned under the Beijing municipal Propaganda Department and consequently lost national reporting permit.

There is a saying which had been passed down in generations among journalists in China. If you can't tell the truth, in the least you could shut your mouth instead of to lie. In China, they will make you lie one way or another; when necessary, they will lie on your behalf, and there is nothing you can do about that.

Tonight, the Propaganda Department made an even horrifying scene in many newsrooms across the nation by coercing them to publish the official article using physical forces. It made the triggering event itself a pat on the wrist. The move could not be justified by any practice reason or logistic necessity. It is nothing but a pointless and resentful show of force after Don Quixote having been crushed to pieces.

Update: Wall Street Journal Chinese has a detailed account on the night of sorrow by a New Capital reporter at the scene. The Journal inaccurately stated the New Capital was operated by the Southern Group.

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