The Ups and Downs of China’s Current Affairs Commentary

David Bandurski at China Media Project looks at one of the “rare bright spots” in China’s current media climate: a diverse and interesting selection of commentaries on current affairs. In particular, he reads a few relating to the case of Professor Yang Shiqun, whose students reported him to school authorities after he was critical of the government in class:

Searching for a fresh perspective on the Yang case, readers might have stumbled upon this commentary in Changjiang Daily, arguing that Yang’s case is a blatant violation of academic freedoms, and that the pair of female students who informed on the professor fail to understand the true spirit of “revolution,” which requires the interchange of differing viewpoints.

They might have found this editorial at Zhejiang Online, cautioning media and the public against criticizing these tattle-tale pupils too viciously before all the facts in the case are known. Or they might have read this commentary by Qu Weiguo (曲卫国), provocatively invoking the words of columnist Chang Ping’s (长平) controversial Tibet editorial earlier this year, saying that “only in an open opinion environment that permits full revelation and discussion do we have the opportunity to progress toward truth and justice.”

And if readers were hungry for an inane reading of the case from the extreme left, they were sure to find it at the leftist website Utopia (乌有之乡), where one writer argued that the whole affair was a mark of social progress — because, get this, students are actually questioning their teachers.

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