Protests over China newspaper censorship row

Demonstrators gather along a street near the headquarters of Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Jan 7, 2013. Scores of supporters of one of China's most liberal newspapers demonstrated outside its headquarters on Monday in a rare protest against censorship, calling for the resignation of the provincial propaganda chief. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - Protestors gathered on Monday at the offices of a Chinese newspaper at the centre of a censorship row to call for media freedom, in a rare demonstration on the subject in the country.

Hundreds of people were protesting outside the Southern Weekly's office in Guangzhou, according to online reports, with one banner reading: "We want press freedom, constitutionalism and democracy."

The demonstration in the southern city came after censors blocked a New Year article in the popular liberal newspaper calling for the realisation of a "dream of constitutionalism in China" to protect citizens' rights.

All Chinese media organisations are subject to instructions from government propaganda departments, which often suppress news seen as "negative" by the ruling Communist Party, although some publications take a more critical stance.