Ytringsfrihed i Kina: Opsamling og links om protesterne i Guangdong

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Journalistik

Der er ikke flere demonstranter ude på gaden foran Sydlig Weekend. Journalisterne har standset strejken og er gået tilbage på arbejde, og har sendt den første avis på gaden siden protesten. Samtidig er debatten i høj grad censureret på internettet. Det var så det? Her er en opsamling.

New York Times ridser situationen op, som den er nu:

Southern Weekend has been a weather vane for restrictions on news organizations in China since its founding 29 years ago, and its journalists say their frustration with those constraints has been building for years, turning their relationship with provincial party officials into something of a cat-and-mouse battle.

The restrictions have tightened since last summer, leading to the protests that erupted at Southern Weekend’s offices last week over a rewritten New Year’s editorial, one of the sharpest outbreaks of friction so far.

The newspaper appeared on newsstands on Thursday, after protesting journalists accepted a compromise in which provincial propaganda officials promised to loosen some of the more intrusive censorship controls. The police in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, moved to quell any new demonstrations at the offices of the Nanfang Media Group, which owns the paper.

The latest issue of Southern Weekend featured an investigation into a fire at an orphanage that left seven people dead, as well as discussions of proposed changes to labor-camp and farmland-seizure laws. It made no direct mention of the protests that turned the newspaper itself into the biggest story in China so far this year.

Guardian skriver også, hvordan der er lavet en ny aftale, men hvordan der straks efter opstod nye problemer:

But a reported deal between the newspaper’s staff and its Communist party overseers has been followed by a fresh clampdown on dissent. Authorities have tampered with the paper’s latest edition, forcibly dispersed anti-censorship protests, scrubbed references to the controversy from the internet and detained more than a dozen activists for expressing solidarity with the newspaper.

The new edition was available in Beijing and Shanghai early on Thursday morning, but only hit newsstands in its home city of Guangzhou after a brief, unexplained delay. Its front page carried a story about a fire in an orphanage.

Although Southern Weekly staff intended to include an editorial celebrating the 30th anniversary of the paper’s founding, it was ultimately axed by propaganda authorities, according to an online post by the director of features at a sister publication in Shanghai.

Zuo Zhijian wrote that the commemorative editorial’s first draft was heavily self-censored and that even a second draft containing some Communist rhetoric was eventually dropped. Two sections of Thursday’s paper were also missing from copies in Shanghai, reported the South China Morning Post. One contained an article about land reclamations and the other touched on political reform.

Time har en artikel, der får mange af nuancerne med, og som også skriver om balladen på Beijing News:

But soon an alternate version of events trickled out that wasn’t quite so positive. This narrative was hard to confirm, given the gag orders imposed on Southern Weekend journalists, especially when it came to talking with media of the foreign variety. But one person close to an editor at Southern Weekend says the newsroom is running scared, with some journalists convinced that punishments will soon be meted out for those who dared to join the protest and whisper support for such radical notions as press freedom.

Up north in Beijing, a different journalistic imbroglio bubbled: on Tuesday night, staffers at the Beijing News — another enterprising publication that was jointly founded by the Southern Media Group, which owns Southern Weekend — complained they were being forced to run a strident outside editorial from a communist-linked publication that condemned the Southern Weekend strike and blamed “external activists” for fomenting the unrest. Sure enough, on Jan. 9, Beijing News published a shortened version of the forceful editorial from the Global Times, albeit buried on page 20. (Other Beijing newspapers had run the editorial the day before.) The decision led some Beijing News journalists to break down in tears, according to accounts on Twitter, which is banned in China but accessible by subverting the Great Firewall. The publisher offered to resign, said staffers, although there was no evidence that his offer was accepted. Police cars soon idled in front of the paper’s office, presumably to ward off any protesters.

South China Morning Post fortæller, hvordan myndighederne forsøger at lægge låg på sagen, og har indkaldt mange af de berømtheder til en røffel – eller ‘en kop the’, som man siger på kinesisk – der støttede journalisterne:

A number of celebrities, including Taiwanese singer Annie Yi and former Google China chief Li Kaifu, who posted support for the outspoken newspaper and calls for freedom of speech on microblogging sites, appeared to have been asked to “have tea” with officials – a euphemism for being given a warning for posting messages deemed inappropriate.

Yi said on her Sina Weibo microblog: “I’m going to tea now, hope it tastes good.” The post was soon deleted.

Li, a Taiwanese-born American, said on his microblog: “From now on, I will only talk about east, west and north, as well as Monday through to Friday” – omitting references to the south or the weekend. The newspaper’s Chinese name is literally translated as “Southern Weekend”.

Others invited for tea included Ren Zhiqiang, chairman of Huayuan Real Estate.

One celebrity said the authorities had warned them to be cautious with their online comments.

Searches for the Chinese characters for “Southern Weekly” remain blocked on microblogs and have also become a sensitive term on WeChat, a mobile phone text and voice messaging communication service developed by Tencent.

South China Morning Post får også lov til at komme af med denne leder fra dagens avis:

Press freedom does not exist on the mainland; authorities are in full control of what gets printed or broadcast. All media is state-owned. There are journalists constantly trying to push the envelope, though. The rise of social media provides a new avenue for expression, one that is increasingly difficult to censor. As society gets wealthier and more sophisticated, it is inevitable that the system will have to change.

Incoming president Xi Jinping’s taking over as the party’s general secretary has brought a sense that change is in the air. The new leadership has shown a desire for a more liberal approach. That may well have emboldened the Southern Weekly’s journalists and their supporters. Guangdong party chief Hu Chunhua’s stepping in to broker a deal between the paper and propaganda office was a sensible move, reminiscent of the resolving of a land dispute between officials and residents of Wukan village last year, but it is premature to believe that a loosening of censorship has begun.

What has been shown, though, is that journalists are getting ever bolder. A strike in the media is nothing unusual to outsiders, but on the mainland it is daring and courageous. Challenging censors is the same as taking on the party. No “external forces” are involved, as some officials have contended; the journalists are reflecting society’s wishes.

Authorities have to end their heavy-handed censorship. An unfettered media and freedom of speech will lead to a cleaner government that is more attuned to people’s needs. There will be less corruption and wrongdoing. Censorship will not disappear overnight, but if there is to be a place for its loosening to begin, there is none better than the Southern Weekly.

Economist kæder den kommende reform af arbejdslejrene sammen med protesterne om ytringsfrihed i en artikel, som du bør læse. Her konklusionen:

For liberal Westerners, ending censorship and labour camps is a moral imperative. For Mr Xi, a pragmatic authoritarian, the calculation is different, but if he knows what is good for him and his country, he will arrive at the same answer. The party’s efforts to maintain control through repression are leading to instability, not stability. Reform is risky, but avoiding it is riskier still.

Mr Xi clearly understands the strength of popular feeling, particularly on the issue of corruption and official extravagance. As he tours the country, he has made much of avoiding the usual elaborate banquets. “Four dishes and a soup” has become the media shorthand for his more frugal, more open approach. But slogans against graft will no longer placate China’s people. Mr Xi needs to start changing the system. As a banner in Guangzhou this week said: “Four dishes and a soup is not real reform. Press freedom is real reform.”

Wen Yuanchao har i øvrigt lagt nogle hundrede fotos ud fra protesten her på Google+.

Skribent

Hurtige klik fra Kina af Kim Rathcke Jensen. Jeg er journalist og BA i kinesisk. Jeg bor i Beijing, hvor jeg arbejder som Politikens korrespondent i Kina og Asien.

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