Last updated: January 19, 2011 - 9:45am
It's been a year of increasing government constraints on the media in the Chinese province of Guangdong.
Last August, the Guangdong press was not allowed to report on large demonstrations in Guangzhou against a government proposal to stop two TV stations broadcasting in Cantonese, the local dialect. Last week, Time Weekly, based in Guangzhou, sacked the editor of its opinion page, Peng Xiaoyun, and Song Fanyin, editor-in-chief, scarcely a month after it published a list celebrating “100 people of Time”. The list included several choices the government was likely to have disapproved of, including Zhao Lianhai, the activist jailed (and recently released) after campaigning on behalf of the victims of adulterated milk powder, and the liberal economist Mao Yushi. In late December, the annual news journalism awards by the Southern Weekend, which is part of the same group as the Southern Metropolis Daily, were cancelled following pressure from authorities. The question many are asking is whether the restrictions of the past several months are temporary.
The province is well known for its hitherto free-wheeling media and, by mainland standards, loose government controls on the media. The restrictions could be a response by the Guangdong government to Guangzhou’s hosting of the Asian Games in November, similar to the restrictions media across China faced in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
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