[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Protesters in China call for press freedom

Hundreds demonstrate in Guangzhou outside offices of a liberal newspaper at the centre of a censorship row.
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2013 06:57

Hundreds of press-freedom advocates have gathered outside the offices of a liberal Chinese newspaper at the centre of a censorship row to call for media freedom in China.

The protesters gathered outside the office of Southern Weekly in Guangzhou, capital of southern Guangdong province, on Monday calling for media freedom, a taboo subject in the country, holding banners and chanting slogans.

“We want press freedom, constitutionalism and democracy,” read one of the banners at the protests.

An open letter from staff and interns at the newspaper last week called for the resignation of Tuo Zhen, a provincial ‘propaganda’ official after a new year editorial piece calling for guaranteed constitutional rights was changed to one that mirrored the views of the Communist Party.

"The Nanfang [Southern] Media Group is relatively willing to speak the truth in China so we need to stand up for its courage and support it now," Ao Jiayang, an NGO worker attending the protest, said.

"We hope that through this we can fight for media freedom in China," Ao said. "Today's turnout reflects that more and more people in China have a civic consciousness."

Another letter released last week and signed by prominent academics from across China, called for the removal of Tuo and more press freedoms as well.

A foreign ministry spokesperson in Beijing is reported to have said: “There is no so-called news censorship in China.” 

Last week, China shut down the website of a pro-reform magazine for running an article calling for political reform and constitutional government. 

253

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.