Pro-democracy Protest in China After Newspaper Censored

Southern Weekly Protest / AP

A pro-democracy demonstration erupted on Monday in China’s Guangdong province after the government censored an editorial in the reform newspaper the Southern Weekly, reports the Associated Press.

The scholars and protesters were acting in support of the Southern Weekly in its confrontation with a top censor after the publication was forced to change a New Year’s editorial calling for political reform into a tribute praising the ruling Communist Party. Rumors circulated that at least one of the newspaper’s news departments was going on strike, but they could not be immediately confirmed.

Protesters, including middle school students and white-collar workers, gathered outside the offices of the newspaper in the southern city of Guangzhou to lay flowers at the gate, hold signs and shout slogans calling for freedom of speech, political reform, constitutional governance and democracy. […]

The protest came as 18 Chinese academics signed an open letter calling for the dismissal of Tuo Zhen, a provincial propaganda minister blamed for the censorship. The scholars included legal professors, liberal economists, historians and writers.

The protest comes after the government shut down the online political magazine, Yanhuang Chunqiu (or China Through the Ages), because it posted an article on constitutional rights and political reform.