Monday, January 7, 2013

[Updated] Global Times, Netease, and Sina Weibo Censorship on Day Three of Outcry Over Southern Weekend New Year's Greeting

January 5 Coverage:
January 6 Coverage:

On the morning of January 7, 2013, the state-sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled "Southern Weekend's 'Letter to Readers' Truly Makes One Ponder" (南方周末“致读者”实在令人深思) here - Some excerpts:
The matter of Southern Weekend's New Year's Greeting having "been modified" has been spreading over the Internet the last few days, with a Southern Weekend editor saying that the version that appeared in print had come from the Guangdong Party Committee Propaganda Department. Last night the Southern Weekend's official Weibo clarified the cause of this matter, and the truth is completely different from the version that has been circulating on the Internet. Also, based on what the Global Times has learned from its own independent channels, the "modified version" was actually not written by the Guangdong Party Committee Propaganda Department. 
But last night there was once again people who represented themselves as being Southern Weekend staff on Weibo posting accounts that conflicted with Southern Weekend's official Weibo, and it looks as though things have yet to completely settle down, and that there is division within Southern Weekend. 
The Southern Weekend storm has fermented over several days, but looked at closely, besides a few current Southern Weekend staff, most of the most active online participants are those who left the "Southern Weekend" some time ago, people who currently have no  connection with the news group, as well as Weibo personalities. They are in reality very disperesed, and use the Internet to communicate. Their most recent supporter is Chen Guangcheng, who is far-off in the United States. 
These people are making spirited demands, and while on the surface they are going after a specific person and event, its obvious to everyone watching that their target is the entire system that involves the media. 
Whether these people like it or not, this is common sense: given the current state of China's society and government, the kind of "free media" that these people yearn for in their hearts simply cannot exist. All of China's media can develop only to the extent China does, and media reform must remain part-and-parcel of China's overall reform, and the media absolutely will not become a "political special zone" of China. 
. . . .
 Even in the West, the mainstream media will not choose to openly oppose the government. 
. . . .
This video was taken in the afternoon of January 7, and shows that the article has been replaced with a 404 error message.

Update January 8, 2013: These screenshots show that the Global Times reposted the editorial at a new URL later in the afternoon on January 7 -

Also on January 7, Netease posted a series of photos here - - under the heading "Mass Demonstration Outside Southern Media Group's Building in Guangzhou" (广州南方报社楼前现游行人群). An excerpt:
On January 7, a mass demonstration took place in front of the Southern Media Group's building in Guangzhou, calling for justice for the "Southern Weekend." Previously, the 2013 Southern Weekend New Year's Greeting was subjected to revisions by higher-ups. On the evening of January 6, the Southern Weekend's official Weibo published information clarifying that the New Year's Greet was written by that paper's editors, and the online rumors were false. At the same time, many Southern Weekend editors and journalists express their opposition, saying they had already lost control over official Weibo's account. 
Screenshot showing Netease report on protests before it was deleted.
That report was also deleted on the afternoon of January 7.

Sina Weibo censoring the individual characters in "Southern Weekend":
Sina Weibo censoring "Southern Weekend" in English,
Pinyin, and the pinyin abbreviation.
Sina Weibo censoring the word "censorship."
Sina Weibo censoring "289," the street number of Southern Weekend.
Sina Weibo censoring "collective announcement."