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Scuffles flare at liberal Chinese newspaper in protest over censorship

Published on Jan 8, 2013 5:45 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 taking a harder line against journalists defying official censorship. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

GUANGZHOU (REUTERS) - Chinese police broke up scuffles outside the gates of a prominent newspaper in southern Guangzhou on Tuesday, as Communist Party authorities showed signs of taking a harder line against journalists defying official censorship.

Crowds of people congregated for a second day outside the liberal Southern Weekly that has become embroiled in a highly symbolic open revolt against press control in Guangdong, China's most prosperous and liberal province, but many journalists were reluctant to call it a full-blown strike.

Guangdong was the birthplace of reforms, begun three decades ago, that propelled China to become the world's second-largest economy. How the party responds to the paper's battle against meddling by propaganda authorities stands to be a key indicator of new party leader Xi Jinping's reformist inclinations.

The scuffles broke out after supporters of the paper, published on Thursdays, jeered and skirmished with a small band of leftists holding posters of Chairman Mao Zedong and signs denouncing the Southern Weekly as "a traitor newspaper" for defying the party.

 
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