March continues to be a month of discontent for journalists in China with a top editor of a prominent daily saying he resigned because of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) stifling control of the media and increasing censorship.
Yu Shaolei, culture editor of Guangzhou’s Southern Metropolis Daily, posted a photo of his resignation letter on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media platform in China.
The reason Yu gave was in a reference to President Xi Jinping’s much-publicised tour of China’s top state media outlets few weeks ago where he asked journalists to follow the CPC. Yu wrote: “I cannot bear your name”.
The rest of the letter was emotional.
“This spring, let’s end things once and for all; my knees can’t take it anymore, having been in the same position for so long, and I want to see if I can have a change. To the person in charge of monitoring my Weibo and letting his superiors know what to delete, you can now let out a sigh of relief.
“Sorry for making you nervous all these years, and I hope there will be a new direction with your career,” it continued. “Please also tell all of the friends who care about me, I won’t be seeing you anymore, Southern Metropolis Daily,” Yu said.
The government asked the letter to be taken off the Internet, not before snapshots of the page were circulated online.
Yu’s resignation comes within days of the authorities detaining a number of journalists in connection with an online letter written by anonymous “loyal communist party members” asking for Xi’s resignation.
Among those detained were family members of Germany-based columnist for Deutsche Welle, Zhang Ping.
“On March 19, 2016, I published an article in Deutsche Welle titled “Jia Jia Was Disappeared for the Crime of Seeing”, criticising these illegal abductions carried out by Chinese authorities. I was also interviewed by Radio France Internationale in which I shared my views on the Communist Party’s ongoing power struggle. Following my article and interview, my direct family members and numerous relatives in China have been subject to investigation, harassment, and threats,” Zhang wrote.
Chinese authorities, however, have said Zhang’s father and brothers were under investigation for causing a “forest fire” in Zhang’s hometown of Xichong county, Sichuan Province.
Earlier this month, the Caixin magazine published a rejoinder defying the government after the censors had deleted an interview of a government advisor who talked about the freedom of free speech and expression.