After nearly five weeks of embarrassing international publicity following the closure of “Freezing Point”, a popular weekly supplement of China Youth Daily, Chinese officials announced the section would relaunch — but its star editors would not be running the show.
The section’s creator and editor-in-chief, Li Datong, and his second-in-command, Lu Yuegang, would be demoted to China Youth Daily‘s news research desk. Top Party leaders at China Youth Daily have also demanded the paper run an editorial on March 1 denouncing the article that reportedly set the controversy in motion.
“Freezing Point” was shut down by authorities on January 24 after printing an article by Yuan Weishi, a Guangzhou professor, who attacked the version of the 19th-century Boxer Rebellion in official Chinese textbooks.
The section’s closure set of a firestorm of international coverage as the most powerful sign yet of growing friction between propaganda commissars and a media with growing aspirations for independence. This week a letter signed by 13 former officials and well-known intellectuals expressed support for “Freezing Point” and asked authorities to relaunch the publication. [Reuters coverage of story].