China Geeks has posted a translation and analysis of the crackdown at the Southern Group of newspapers, including the firing of veteran liberal journalist Chang Ping:
In a recent blog post, prominent writer Mo Zhixu examined the political context behind the crackdown, specifically focusing on the Southern Media Group. The so-called Southern family of papers usually refers to papers under the group, which include the Southern Weekend, Southern Metropolis Daily, 21st Century Business Herald and Southern People Weekly. The group, which originates from Guangzhou, then at the forefront of reform, is known for its liberal stance even though it is an official Communist Party newspaper group. But apart from this core group of papers, Mo pointed to the wider significance of the Southern Media Group:
More broadly speaking, the Southern Media Group is the result of recent years of expansion. Because of Southern Media’s collaborations with Beijing News (新京报) and Yunnan’s Information Times (信息时报), these newspapers’ ideological missions are close to that of Southern Media. Perhaps there exists a more abstract ‘Southern family’. Because of the group’s success, its former professionals are targets of recruitment by other new media. These people are now widely scattered in various new ventures, and carry with them the same spiritual consensus.
It is difficult to define the spirits and values of the South Media Group and its professionals. But generally speaking, it includes: affirmation of market economy, globalization, rule of law, human rights and universal values, and the promotion of political reforms. In essence, there are two main points: political reforms, and responding to the demand of rights by the newly emerging social class.
His key thesis was that it was not the Southern Media Group becoming more aggressive, but the diminishing space of political reform which makes the group more conspicuous as a dissenting force within the system
Read more about Chang Ping via CDT.