Press freedom in China

January 9th, 2013 at 8:27 am by David Farrar

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 .

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 landscape, has led to demands for the country’s new leadership to grant greater 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.

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14 Responses to “Press freedom in China”

  1. Redbaiter (8,823 comments) says:

    Define “semi democratic”.

    Your last paragraph is of course only personal opinion but in fact it is just dangerous and naive nonsense that does nothing to comfort those Chinese citizens locked in dungeons or incarcerated in re-education camps by the current regime.

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  2. Mexican (22 comments) says:

    it’s like being “semi-pregnant” only with less chance of producing an outcome

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  3. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    China will never be a democracy as we have them in Europe and down under.

    Eventually China’s elite work out they can emulate the west and manipulate democracy, rather than continuing to forcibly rule in its absence.

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  4. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    I know someone, who often comments here, who worships at the altar of the Singaporean “semi-democratic” system. Freedom for me, butnot for thee, etc.

    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.

    Would have been fascinating to be a fly on the wall at that meeting. “Do you remember that touring exhibition of plasticated human bodies we made, that is now wowing the western world? Get back to work, or you’ll be in the 2013 edition… :evil:

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  5. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Indeed: ‘most staff would not face punishment’. I wonder what the punishment for the ringleaders might be.

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  6. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    Watching NZ v South Africa in the 2nd test.

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  7. kowtow (8,470 comments) says:

    Evolutionary not revolutionary. Not sure. I reckon there’ll be the old revolution of rising expectations and when it happens it will be ugly and have huge implications for us down here (exports etc)Could go the way of Syria,whodda thought?

    Semi democratic…… like us and CIR’s which the gummint ignores!
    Where’s our upper house?
    We lost the Privy Council too,how much say did we have in that?

    Yep ,pretty semi democratic here in Maoriland where there are race based seats predicated on old land ownership and voting rights.

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  8. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    China incapable of democracy? Bulllshit that is usually hedged with qualifications such as the country is too big or has just too many people.

    DPF has in the past labelled those who question Chinese investment in NZ land as xenophobic and the PR-led backers of these investments called questioners racist, and so did the Minister Maurice William-Sung.

    IMHO, the racism is to label China and Chinese as being incapable of democracy.

    Unfair, too, to the memory of the democracy martyrs of Tiananmen Square.

    There are hundreds more millions of Chinese like the anonymous, middle-aged bloke with plastic shopping bags who fronted up to the tank in Tiananmen Square that day. They will get democracy. On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Chinese have satisfied the basic need for food and shelter. The top need, self-actualisation, requires democracy, and the Chinese will reach it.

    China has emerged from a century of war-lordism and civil war with enormous casualties, far outweighing those of the two world wars, of Hitler and of Stalin.

    It will achieve democracy. Chinese people aren’t genetically predisposed to be subjects of totalitarian states.

    Unlike Singapore (which DPF sites as a precedent), China isn’t a tiny non-Muslim island in a highly-populated Muslim ocean as it were. China doesn’t have the same imperative as Singapore to make democracy subservient to survival and security.

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  9. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    If Key, William-Sung, Landcorp and Co think along the lines DPF posted, does that mean NZ is at core more truly interested in links with the communist oligarchs and princelings of Beijing than in lasting trade links with China?

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  10. Redbaiter (8,823 comments) says:

    The thing about Singapore of course is something should be done to help all those refugees on rubber tube rafts trying to escape to Malaysia or the other beacons of democracy and freedom that abound in Asia.

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  11. Marty McFly (6 comments) says:

    Don’t forget that the ‘Other’ China, The Republic of China is a democracy, or as Wiki says ” semi-presidential representative democratic republic” with a high level of press freedom

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  12. Paulus (2,627 comments) says:

    Singapore is a class run autocracy, and God help you if you do not toe the line.
    85% of dwellings are Government owned too.

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  13. Dazzaman (1,140 comments) says:

    Forget about any revolutionary change in China. Nothing has changed there with regards to freedoms, aside from the freedoms to make money & boost the economy, as always, by the backs of the populace without remorse & largely by compulsion if need be. Any cultural/democratic changes will always be met with an iron fist, secretly or otherwise, the Chinese state are as ruthless as the Russians & will continue to rule as such.

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  14. V (720 comments) says:

    Last time I checked Greece and Italy had puppet Prime Ministers …

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