Less than a week after the Chinese government failed to renew New York Times reporter Chris Buckley’s visa, reporters at China’s Southern Weekend staged a protest when the local propaganda chief decided to sua sponte change the text of the newspaper’s annual New Year’s message before it went to press.
Although China is far from freedom of the press as we know it, the burgeoning commercial press has been more inclined to go to the limits of government censorship rules and push the envelope with hard-hitting stories. Southern Weekend has long led the pack and has achieved international recognition for some of its reports.
Thus, when Southern Weekend‘s staff staged a protest, it made world news.
In a World Politics Review article, I analyze the meaning of last week’s protests, and highlight that the United States perhaps missed a perfect opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to a free press while thousands of Chinese were protesting for the same value. Read the article here.