Self-Criticism For Sanlian -Sources


This ghostly cover drew a yellow card from the speech refs.

Recently, the Central Publicity Department “yellow carded” Sanlian Lifeweek magazine (‰∏âËÅîÁîüÊ¥ªÂë®Âàä) for going too far with its October 30 cover story on the smashing of the , comrades in the magazine industry report.

In the run-up to the sensitive anniversary, the propaganda-meisters did not issue an outright ban on independent reporting about it. But they did prescribe that it be handled in a “low-key” manner (‰ΩéË∞ɧÑÁêÜ).

The Sanlian cover was anything but. While some rivals went mum while ran couched columns that sputtered (e.g. China Newsweek’s “Past Events”, Âæĉ∫ã), Sanlian saved its energy for a 25-page special package marking end of that dark decade 30 years ago, titled, “The Moment the Ended”. As Danwei and others have noted, the spread contained little in the way of startling revelations. Instead its stories reflected on life as it really was for people once Mao died, the Gang of Four fell, and Hua Guofeng fleetingly held sway; when the economy offered “low-level stability”, as the magazine put it, and city kids returned en masse from the countryside, never to be the same. And that, for a mainstream magazine, was something.

So what is a “yellow card”, anyway? One senior editor at a magazine in Beijing explained it thus: “With a yellow card, you have to write self-criticism (Ê£ÄËÆ®). If the self-criticism passes, then the matter is dropped. If it doesn’t pass, then there’s a shake-up (Êï¥È°ø, i.e., rectification). If you get two yellow cards, then your publication can be suspended immediately for rectification.”

The editor added: “With one yellow card, ordinarily, if you write a self-criticism it will pass.”

A yellow card can leave a publication smarting for some time. Still, from what our sources hear, life will go on at Sanlian Lifeweek.

November 21, 2006, 7:59 PM