From Binyan to Freezing Point – Qian Gang
ESWN has translated an article (link) by prominent Chinese journalist and former managing editor of Southern Weekend, Qian Gang, about the connections between Liu Binyan and the restructuring of Freezing Point:
Number 2, Ocean Transport Warehouse, Dongzhimen South Little Street, Beijing, is the address of China Youth Daily. There is half a century between 1956 and 2006, but two historical events occurred in this same compound. In the former case, the newspaper’s reporter Liu Binyan (ÂàòÂÆæÈõÅ) published “On the Bridge Worksite” and “Internal News at our Newspaper” and was then branded a “rightist” one year later. In the latter case, the Freezing Point weekly magazine was suspended for re-organization, and the chief editor Li Datong and the deputy editor Lu Yuegang were both relieved of their duties. Incredibly, in this “historical replay,” the person who led the struggle against Liu Binyan during the Cultural Revolution is the Central Propaganda News Critical Reading Group director who wiped out Freezing Point in 2006.
…This is not just about Freezing Point. When Liu Binyan was persecuted again in 1987 and forced to go into exile, his name was removed from the public to the point that journalism students today are unfamiliar with his name, but the spirit and strength of Liu Binyan did not vanish. This strength can be seen in Nanfang Weekend which “insists on keeping the conscience, praises righteousness and publicizes compassion”, in Southern Metropolis Daily which is unafraid of the powerful and in Caijing magazine and News Investigation which insist on journalistic professionalism. In 1956, Liu Binyan called for “independent thinking” and “boldly interfering in life,” and these are the professional standards for the best media today. In the 1980’s, Liu Binyan started the tradition of “independent investigation” and “caring for the base strata” in the reportage literary movement (actually, it is a movement to fight for freedom of press) and this has been actively adopted and developed by the media. Even when reportage literature was in ebb tide after Liu Binyan and Su Xiaokong were gpme, there came someone like the author of “Lonely Citizen in a Grand Nation,” Lu Yuegang (former deputy editor at Freezing Point) whose ideas and professional standards set new heights. The commercialization and vulgarization of media showed clamor and chaos that Liu Binyan did not see twenty years ago, but there were also new space and opportunities. Freezing Point appeared precisely in this atmosphere of reform in journalism.