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Rare strike puts press freedom under scrutiny in China


China

Rare strike puts press freedom under scrutiny in China

In China there has been a rare protest over press censorship. Yellow chrysanthemums, symbolising the death of press freedom, were laid outside the headquarters of the Southern Weekly newspaper in the city of Guangzhou.

The row has escalated after reporters accused the head of the provincial propaganda bureau of replacing their New Year’s letter calling for reform with another one that hailed the triumphs of the communist party.

“This act of suppressing the freedom of the press should be changed. Otherwise, it is going to be detrimental to the public interest of knowing the facts,” said one journalist.

The reporters also called for the provincial propaganda chief to step down. Their articles were replaced by the censors praising the communist party’s achievements.

A Southern Weekly spokesman denied the removal of the letter was due to censorship, saying the “online rumours were false”.

Analysts believe the protest could provide a key test for Chinese officials installed just two months ago following the transition in the country’s leadership.

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