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China Youth Daily's annual summer letter of dissent


Last summer, the deputy director of the news center at the China Youth Daily wrote a caustic letter in response to a lecture from the Secretary of the Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Youth League.

Hong Kong uberblogger ESWN translated the letter and commented:

This letter was an open 15,000-word response from Lu directed to Zhao after the meeting, and was posted on the China Youth Daily intranet. Subsequently, the letter was leaked to the outside world and circulated widely on the Internet, keeping the censors very busy.

The letter contains some rather caustic remarks that show the author was pretty worked up, such as:

... Do you think that the group of people that you spoke to grew up eating feces? ...

...The interesting thing about this letter is that this is not some grand theory on political science coming out of a research institute. This is about the nuts-and-bolts of operating an established and esteemed newspaper, wherein journalistic professionalism comes into conflict with the outmoded party control mechanisms.

This summer, an established editor at the China Youth Daily wrote a letter to the newspapers editor in chief, criticizing him for "restraining editorial freedom and succumbing to party dogma" (South China Morning Post).

All very admirable. Unfortunately, the content of China Youth Daily has a long way to go to match the rhetoric of the internal letters of its editors.

Notes about China Youth Daily:

It has been published since 1951. Distributed nationwide, it has always had a large reader base because universities and high schools were forced to subscribe. Nonetheless, it is a good and well-respected Chinese newspaper. According to their website, China Youth Daily has sells about half a million copies every day.

The China Youth Daily is a different entity from Beijing Youth Daily. Although both were founded by the Communist Youth League, Beijing Youth Daily is now controlled by the Beijing municipal government and the Hong Kong listed Beijing Media Corporation, while China Youth Daily is controlled by the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League.

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