Reuters reports at Stuff:
The Communist Party chief of Guangdong province has reportedly stepped in to mediate a standoff over censorship at a Chinese newspaper, in a potentially encouraging sign for press freedoms in China.
A source close to the Guangdong Communist Party Committee said Hu Chunhua, a rising political star in China who just took over leadership of Guangdong province last month, had offered a solution to the dispute that led to some staff at the Southern Weekly going on strike.
The drama began late last week when reporters at the liberal paper accused censors of replacing a New Year letter to readers that called for a constitutional government with another piece lauding the party’s achievements.
Under Hu’s deal, the source said, newspaper workers would end their strike and return to work, the paper would print as normal this week, and most staff would not face punishment. “Guangdong’s Hu personally stepped in to resolve this,” the source said.
“He gets personal image points by showing that he has guts and the ability to resolve complex situations. In addition, the signal that he projects through this is one of relative openness, it’s a signal of a leader who is relatively steady.”
The standoff at the Southern Weekly, long seen as a beacon of independent and in-depth reporting in China’s highly controlled media landscape, has led to demands for the country’s new leadership to grant greater media freedoms.
China will never be a democracy as we have them in Europe and down under. Change will be evolutionary, not revolutionary. But it has been moving in the right direction for most of the last couple of decades and may end up with a Singapore system of governance one day – semi-democratic.