Chang Ping, a columnist and senior editor of Southern Metropolis Weekly, was attacked by nationalists and praised by supporters of free speech, after he published a controversial op-ed How To Find The Truth About Lhаsa in April.
He wrote about how censorship had hindered truthful coverage of the Tibet incident in the article, urging his readers to reflect on the lack of press freedom in China, instead of pouring criticism on biases by western media.
Shortly afterwards he was labeled a “Chinese traitor” on Internet forums and called a “rumor monger” by a columnist of Beijing Evening News.
“This individual had brought free speech to an appalling or even terrifying degree”, the columnist said.
Chang Ping responded to the attacks in an article I Am Not Your Enemy, in which he said that he supports national unity and opposes violence, but he wants to be able to think independently about journalistic ideals and race relations.
Chang Ping has written a number of liberal articles commenting on various social phenomena in contemporary Chinese society. He was honored as the one of the most influential columnists in China by Southern Weekend in 2007.
His recent blog article My Cowardice And Impotence reflected on self-censorship, and his inner struggle for journalistic ideals while working for government-owned publications.
I am afraid of other people praising me as a brave newspaperman, because I know I am full of fear in my heart. I did write some commentaries on current affairs, and edited some articles that exposed the truth. I lost my job and was threatened for speaking the truth. However, to be honest, these were exceptional cases. They were my miscalculations. In my various media positions in the past decade, what I’ve practiced most is avoiding risk. Self-censorship has become part of my life.
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