Top Chinese Editor Demoted after Barack Obama Interview

The Guardian reports that a top editor for Southern Weekend has been demoted after publishing an exclusive interview with President Obama during his China visit last month:

Southern Weekend confirmed Xiang Xi had been named as “executive” editor-in-chief, claiming that it was only a change of title. Three employees told Reuters he had been demoted after pressure from the propaganda authorities. All staff requested anonymity.

It is understood the White House initiated the interview during Obama’s visit last month. Usually, visiting leaders speak to official newspapers or the state broadcaster CCTV. “Xiang Xi was de facto top editor at Southern Weekend and in effect he has been shifted from number one to number two … This could be a way to stave off more pressure from above,” said Michael Anti, a Chinese blogger and media commentator based in Beijing.

According to Reuters, the Chinese foreign ministry approved the meeting, angering propaganda officials . Another editor said the officials restricted questions and slashed material approved for publication, although a White House transcript did not contain extra material.

Read more about Obama’s Southern Weekend interview via CDT, here and here.