Southern Weekly Editor Replaced to Calm Dispute

The uncertain resolution of a stand-off between Southern Weekly staff and Guangdong propaganda authorities continues to unfold. At the South China Morning Post, Li Jing and Mimi Lau report the ousting of Southern Weekly editor-in-chief Huang Can, who was behind a deeply contentious message sent from the newspaper’s official Sina Weibo account near the start of the stand-off. The weibo post, which staff described as “completely at odds with the truth”, denied propaganda officials’ role in drastically altering the paper’s traditional New Year greeting. In a further concession apparently aimed at restoring normality, the newspaper was finally allowed to publish corrections to the rewritten greeting. A source close to Guangdong’s provincial government said Wang Genghui, a deputy editor-in-chief of Nanfang Media Group, which owns the newspaper, had taken over from Huang Can, Southern Weekly’s editor-in-chief since 2009. Huang had been sidelined and was likely to be transferred to another post in the group. “Wang has a rather popular image as he is more willing to listen to editors and journalists,” the source said. “But this is likely to be a transitional role to restore normal operation at the newspaper as soon as possible.” This week’s newspaper included a veiled protest saying that editorial procedures should be respected and made corrections – a typographical error, the erroneous numbering of the edition and a factual flaw that said flood control work by “Yu the Great” happened 2,000 years ago, instead of 4,000 years ago. A comment below the corrections, signed by editorial staff, read: “Newspaper mistakes are always in black and white. In every link of editing and publishing a newspaper, its standard processes should always be respected and followed. We have never been more keenly aware of this.” A report at Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, meanwhile, described Xi Jinping’s alleged displeasure at ...
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