Media regulation

More info on Chang Ping's sacking


Yesterday, RSF reported that Chang Ping had been removed from his position as deputy editor of Southern Metropolis Weekly because of an opinion piece on Tibet he wrote for the Financial Times,

In today's Lianhe Zaobao, reporter Yang Yongxin quotes some "informed individuals" who provide additional information (using his real name, Zhang Ping):

This paper has learned that Zhang Ping had been deputy editor and lead writer for Southern Metropolis Weekly, but after publishing the aforementioned article, the management of SMW's parent newspaper, Southern Metropolis Daily, decided last week to conduct a "personnel adjustment," removing Zhang from his position as deputy editor but keeping him on as lead writer.

The "official explanation" given by the management was that they had made this decision some time ago because Zhang was better suited to writing work than to administrative work.

Nevertheless, it is widely believed that Zhang's removal is inseparable from his article. In addition, there are those who believe that the SMD management was subject to outside pressure, leading it to make that decision.
Reportedly, Zhang's colleagues at SMW and SMD were unhappy with his treatment and wrote a petition to the management requesting that he be reinstated, but they were rejected.

Zhang refused to comment when contacted by telephone last night: "Thank you for your concern, but it's really not convenient to make any comment at this time."

An informed individual told this paper that Zhang Ping was very upset with the management's decision, and many of his colleagues were concerned that he would no longer be willing to remain at SMW. In addition, the company strictly regulates its employees' contacts with overseas media, so even if Zhang had additional grievances, he could not easily express them.

Although Zhang's article was not published in SMD, many angry netizens connected the two: in addition to calling Zhang a traitor to his country (卖国贼), they criticized SMD as a media entity that betrayed the Chinese race (汉奸媒体).

Reportedly, SMD had originally decided to silently endure such criticism without taking any action, but ultimately it was pressured to remove Zhang Ping from his post as deputy editor of SMW.

Chang Ping is still listed as deputy editor and lead writer (总主笔兼副主编) in today's issue of Southern Metropolis Weekly, but given magazine lead times, that may not mean much.

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