Editor at Chinese paper quits over media controls

BEIJING • An editor at one of China's more intrepid newspapers has published a resignation letter denouncing increased controls on the media under President Xi Jinping, according to a cached version of his online post.

Mr Yu Shaolei, culture editor of the Southern Metropolis Daily, posted a photo of his resignation letter on his Weibo social media account on Monday night.

Mr Yu had spent nearly 16 years at the newspaper, which earned a reputation for testing the limits of what could be reported in China.

The image showed a signed resignation form with Mr Yu's reason for quitting given in large Chinese characters as: "I cannot bear your surname." The comment was a reference to Mr Xi declaring after a visit to official media organs last month that all outlets in the country must "take the Communist Party's surname".

Mr Yu's post was deleted by censors, but was seen by AFP in cached form on the FreeWeibo website, which preserves posts censored in China.

"I'm getting old, and have been kneeling so long I can't bear it. Now I'd like to try to change posture," he wrote. "Whoever's responsible for staring at my Weibo and notifying superiors what to make me delete, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Sorry if I've made you anxious the last few years, I wish wholeheartedly your work takes a new direction."

The letter is the latest rebellion against a chilling of China's media environment, with even loyal party members like outspoken tycoon Ren Zhiqiang having his social media account deleted by censors after he condemned Mr Xi's comments.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2016, with the headline 'Editor at Chinese paper quits over media controls'. Print Edition | Subscribe