Saturday, December 28, 2013

Story Behind 'Shao' Orphans Story

Journalist Pang Xiaoming resigned from Caixin last week. Having been released from his official reporter role, Pang was able to tell the story behind his signature work 'Shao Orphans' and the story of his own, in which he had to change his name several times, playing mouse and cat game with bureaucrats at the Central Propaganda Ministry.

Pang's haunted journey started at China Economic Times. His investigative report on substandard construction materials in building the high speed rail system made himself a prey of the always alarmed Central Propaganda Ministry. Pang changed his name to Shangguan Aoming to work at Southern Metropolitan In-Depth News.

His signature reporting on 'Shao Orphans' once again exposed himself to the Propaganda Ministry. The censor police was able to match the two names, and Caixin was ordered to fire Pang.

Caixin is known as the most daring mouth piece in mainland China, mostly thanks to a chief editor Hu Shuli. Pang was instead instructed by his boss to make up a new name. Pang used 'Huang Yimeng', a pun on 'but a dream'. Hu found it too pessimistic for her taste and changed it to 'Zheng Dao', a pun on 'right road'. With he new names, Pang was able to return to news reporting until he was caught on by the censor police again. Pang was reassigned to desk jobs.

In April, Hu felt time to test water and activated Pang. Four month later, Pang's report on Fushun flooding casualty number contradicted the official proved data. He was caught by the Central Propaganda Ministry for the last time.

As all media in China, Caixin is a subsidiary of Zhejiang Daily, the official publication of the Provincial Propaganda Department of Zhejiang CCP. All reporters in China are government officials.

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