May 7 – According to a report from Hong Kong’s Ming Pao Daily, Nandu Weekly chief editor Zhang Ping (张平) was removed from his position following a controversy surrounding an editorial that appeared on his personal Weblog and in the Chinese language online edition of the Financial Times. The editorial, “Tibet: the truth and nationalist sentiment,” took a moderate view on March protests in Tibet. It drew harsh and personal attacks from Internet users, who accused Zhang, who writes under the penname Chang Ping (长平), and Southern Metropolis Daily (publisher of Nandu Weekly) of betraying the Chinese nation. The facts behind Zhang Ping’s removal as an editor at Nandu Weekly remain unclear, but the decision seems to have been made internally at Southern Metropolis Daily to offset pressure against the paper. Contacted by CMP, top editor at the newspaper refused to discuss Zhang’s case, an understandable decision since the veteran journalist continues to be an active writer – there is no need, in their view, to jeopardize Zhang’s career any further by making him the focus of more attention on this issue.
May 8 – A series of editorials in major newspapers attacked top party leaders in the prefectural-level city of Fuyang (阜阳), Anhui province, as a spate continued over a series of questionable cases throwing attention on the city. The cases included the suspicious “suicide” of Li Guofu, a local real-estate executive who blew the whistle on local corruption, including the misappropriation of funds for the construction of a lavish local government building called the “white house”. This scandal was shortly followed by new of a local outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease that had been covered up by officials for weeks. Local party leaders called the rash of reports an attempt to“demonize Fuyang.” In a May 8 editorial called “Who Demonized Fuyang?”, the Yangtze Evening News accused leaders in Fuyang of attempting to throw off their own responsibility by pitting the pride of the people of Fuyang against national media. An editorial in The Beijing News from Jiangxi prosecutor Yang Tao (杨涛) said the investigation into the death of Li Guofu should not exclude the media. Rather, he argued, regular press conferences could help dispel public doubts about the fairness of the process, and, moreover, facts gathered in the original China Youth Daily report on Li’s death showed that investigators should maintain close contact with news media.

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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