Chang Ping: I Am Ashamed of Self-Censorship (Updated)

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. It ...
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8 Responses to Chang Ping: I Am Ashamed of Self-Censorship (Updated)

  1. propagandist says:

    Is Chang Ping speaking for his Western counterparts as well? At least this Chinese journalist has the courage to admit it.

  2. GB says:

    Read a good analysis: “Chang Ping Incident: The Middle Class and Political Leadership”: http://outcastin.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!2283C2FC08E924D5!539.entry

  3. George says:

    HE GOT FIRED WAY TO GO
    BEIJING, May 6 (Reuters) – A renowned Chinese columnist has lost his job at a magazine over commentaries on unrest in Tibet which did not conform with the official line, a watchdog group and a source with knowledge of the dismissal said on Tuesday.

    Zhang Ping, who writes under the pen name Chang Ping, was sacked as deputy chief editor of the Southern Metropolis Weekly magazine, the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said.

    The group said in an e-mail Zhang’s departure was “because of his editorials about Tibet”, including the controversial piece “How to find the truth about Lhasa?”

    “We deplore this unfair removal of a well-known member of the liberal press,” the statement said.

    Zhang declined to comment when reached by telephone. The source, requesting anonymity, confirmed the sacking but declined to provide further details.

    Violent anti-Chinese riots broke out in Tibet and Tibetan-populated areas in neighbouring provinces in March, with mobs killing about 20 non-Tibetan civilians, the Chinese government says. The Tibetan government-in-exile puts the figure at more than 200, most victims of a subsequent crackdown.

    The crackdown led to protests by exiled Tibetans around the world and a troubled international leg of the Olympic torch relay for the Beijing Games in August.

    Zhang’s articles were published mainly in his magazine’s sister newspaper, the Southern Metropolis Daily, and called on the government to allow more media freedom in covering the Tibet riots and to review its policy on Tibet.

    The commentaries drew an angry backlash from a large number of Internet users, who accused Zhang of being a traitor and downplaying the violence by Tibetans as well as the perceived anti-China bias of Western media. (Reporting by Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Nick Macfie)

    Source: Reuters North American News Service

  4. [...] University of California at Berkeley’s China Media Project translated one of Zhang’s recent blog posts. Titled My Cowardice and Impotence, here is an [...]

  5. [...] University of California at Berkeley’s China Media Project translated one of Zhang’s recent blog posts. Titled My Cowardice and Impotence, here is an [...]

  6. tenzin says:

    Thank you to Mr. Zhang for telling the truth about Tibet, which sadly cannot be found in Chinese official media.

  7. [...] and very poignant post from a sacked Chinese journalist translated and reproduced at the China Digital Times. I am afraid of other people praising me as a brave newspaperman, because I know I am full of fear [...]