November 22 — In an uncharacteristic move, propaganda authorities apparently ordered the removal from the Web of an editorial from China’s official news agency. The editorial, posted on the Web on August 18, dealt with dirty land deals between local officials and development firms and was Xinhua’s own follow-up on an investigative report appearing in the November 15 edition of Guangdong’s Southern Weekend. The Southern Weekend report detailed how officials at Guangzhou’s Country Garden (碧桂园), a major development firm some have called “China’s biggest landlord”, had been able to systematically purchase village land at no cost thanks to behind-the-scenes dealings with local leaders across China. [More from CMP here].
November 23 — After months of silence, veteran journalist Zhai Minglei spoke out about the “death” of the independent journal Minjian (民间), China’s first magazine telling the stories of grassroots activists working for the betterment of Chinese society. After cooperating with authorities since July in an effort to save Minjian amidst a government crackdown on “illegal publications”, including the China Development Brief, Zhai spoke out in an open letter explaining the circumstances surrounding Minjian’s shutdown. “Had it not been for Minjian’s closure, we would have worked forever in silence,” Zhai wrote. [More from CMP here].
November 23 — Newspapers across China heralded a new age of publicly-listed media companies as news came that Liaoning Publishing Media Company (辽宁出版传媒股份有限公司) would be allowed to list “in its entirety”, breaking through previous restrictions that meant only the business-related portions of media companies could list, but editorial divisions could not. All previous domestic listings of Chinese media groups have involved listing of business-side assets such as circulation and advertising, while editorial divisions (编辑业务) have remained unlisted. Such companies have included: B-Ray (博瑞传播), CCID Media (赛迪传媒) and BJ Media (北青传媒).
November 25 — Speaking at a forum on new media at the South China University of Technology, scholar Wang Zhongtuo (王众托) said that while Weblogs have been a positive development in allowing people to express their own views, “we have discovered much material that violates national security and violent and pornographic content that harms youth,” the Yangcheng Evening News reported. Wang said China should consider new legislation to control the Internet. Ensuring “sufficient speech freedoms”, said Wang, “we must develop the beneficial and suppress that which is harmful.”

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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