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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Chinese Journalist Chang Ping Who Defied the Censors and Wrote About Corruption Is Fired

Posted by Author on January 28, 2011

SHANGHAI — A prominent newspaper columnist who challenged government censors by writing about corruption and political reform was dismissed Thursday by the Southern Daily Group, publisher of some of the country’s best-known newspapers.

The columnist, Chang Ping, said he was forced out because his bosses were “under pressure” from government propaganda authorities.

The executive editor, Zhuang Shenzhi, said that the publisher had decided not to extend Mr. Chang’s contract.

“The paper thought some of his work was inappropriate,” he said in a telephone interview late Thursday.

The authorities in China commonly dismiss reporters and editors who defy censors.

Mr. Chang, 42, has a reputation for writing about politically sensitive topics, including democracy, media censorship, the failures of government policy and Tibet. His commentaries appeared in Southern Weekend and Southern Metropolis Weekly, both of which are published by the Southern Daily Group.

A 2008 commentary that carried the headline “Tibet: Nationalist Sentiment and the Truth” enraged Chinese nationalists who supported a crackdown on what the government called separatist activities in Tibet.

Mr. Chang also wrote and lectured about media censorship and civil society. In a recent lecture at Fudan University in Shanghai he said, “We should transform into a civil society rather than wait for a virtuous leader.”

He also said: “Society is diverse and should have a platform for giving opinions. We don’t necessarily need everyone to support freedom and democracy. What is key is whether these opinions are people’s own voices.”

Mr. Chang was removed in late 2008 from his position as deputy chief editor of Southern Metropolis Weekly and was also dismissed as a commentator. But he retained a research position at the Southern Daily Group and continued to write commentaries for other publications.

The reason he was dismissed, he said, was simple.

“I think it’s because the media censorship has tightened since the Nobel Peace Prize,” Mr. Chang said in the telephone interview, referring to the Chinese government’s anger over the decision to award the prize this year to an imprisoned dissident, Liu Xiaobo.

“I will keep writing,” he said. “I won’t stop.”

The New York Times

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