The Straits Times
Published on Jan 17, 2013

Chinese newspaper issues corrections after dispute


BEIJING (AP) - A Chinese weekly newspaper whose editorial staff had a rare but short-lived revolt against censorship issued a correction today for mistakes that were blamed on censors and helped fuel the dispute.

The correction came as a bookend to a dispute in which journalists tested the boundaries of state censorship and in which China's ruling Communist Party showed that it is not ready to loosen its tight grip on the media.

Journalists at the Southern Weekly said the mistakes resulted from last-minute changes made by censors who ignored a usual review by the paper's editorial department. The journalists used the errors to air their frustration and draw attention to how heavy censorship changed the paper's New Year's message from a call for constitutionalism into a tribute to the Communist Party.

Journalists had threatened to go on strike, but the tension fizzled after the editorial staff and the censors reached a compromise that would relax some intrusive controls while keeping much of the censorship in place. Public calls for the ouster of the region's top censor were ignored, and the newspaper was published last Thursday with no hint of the dispute.