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Guangdong chief offers deal in Chinese paper censorship row: source

Published on Jan 8, 2013 11:42 PM
Demonstrators hold banners outside the headquarters of Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Jan 8, 2013. Chinese police broke up scuffles outside the gates of a prominent newspaper in southern Guangzhou on Tuesday, as Communist Party authorities showed signs of a taking a harder line against journalists defying official censorship. The Chinese Characters on the banners (front, L to R) read "Is there still 'weekends' in Southern China?", "Chinese dream, dream of constitutionalism; dream of constitutionalism, my dream", "Readers from Hunan province voluntarily support Southern Weekly". The Chinese characters on the mask read "I want to speak." -- PHOTO: REUTERS

GUANGZHOU, China (Reuters) - The Communist Party chief of Guangdong province stepped in to mediate a standoff over censorship at a Chinese newspaper on Tuesday, a source said, in a potentially encouraging sign for press freedoms in China.

The source close to the Guangdong Party Committee said Hu Chunhua, a rising political star in China who just took over leadership of Guangdong province last month, had offered a solution to the dispute that led to some staff at the Southern Weekly going on strike.

The drama began late last week when reporters at the liberal paper accused censors of replacing a New Year letter to readers that called for a constitutional government with another piece lauding the party's achievements.

Under Mr Hu's deal, the source said, newspaper workers would end their strike and return to work, the paper would print as normal this week, and no one would face punishment. "Guangdong's Hu personally stepped in to resolve this," the source said.

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