January 13 – Hunan TV, the Chinese satellite network behind the immensely popular “Super Girl” program, announced on its website that it was in “negotiation” with broadcast authorities in the city of Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, after Hunan TV’s signal was blooked on January 11. The blocking of the satellite signal met with vocal opposition from Internet users in Ningbo, who called the action an example of local protectionism by officials concerned about their commercial interests.
January 15 – Following a popular show of opposition by Shanghai residents to proposed plans for extension of the city’s magnetic levitation (“maglev”) rail system, the official Liberation Daily ran an editorial urging residents to abide by the principles of “reason” and “order” and hinting that leaders were “resolutely opposed” to what it called “street politics” [coverage from CMP here]. Popular protests on Shanghai’s People’s Square – which the commercial press referred to not as demonstrations but as “walking”, or sanbu (散步) — drew thousands of supporters. A January 13 editorial in Guangdong’s Southern Metropolis Daily said Shanghai residents had “expressed themselves in a peaceful manner,” and other media linked the action to popular protests in the city of Xiamen last year.
January 16 — Media in Guangdong Province launched into a lively debate about the meaning of “thought liberation”, or jiefang sixiang (解放思想), a term emphasized by Hu Jintao at the recent 17th National Congress and re-iterated by Guangdong’s newly-appointed party secretary, Wang Yang (汪洋). While Wang Yang arguably touted the buzzword in a mere show of fealty to President Hu and his policies, local media seized on the opportunity to offer their own reflections on the term. On January 16, Southern Weekend related the issue of “thought liberation” to the need for political reform. In reference to the stultifying influence of over-concentration of power, the newspaper wrote that “thought liberation cannot avoid the question of vested interests.” (思想解放绕不开既得利益问题).
[Posted by Joseph Cheng]