Moment reponds to SFW controversy

One of the many charges that Science Fiction World editors made against their boss, Li Chang, was that he sold off the agency's periodical licenses to other magazines. This is illegal under Chinese press regulations: each publication is required to have its own unique registration.

The situation for Moment (商•瞬) is not unusual: the system is so restrictive that the vast majority of new magazines are launched by piggy-backing onto the license of an existing publication. Authorities generally look the other way, but when they want to punish a magazine for some other reason, the violation makes it very easy to do so.

The post translated below attempts to draw a distinction between the "sale" and "transfer" of periodical licenses, which is clearly illegal, and "partnerships" whereby two magazines share one license, which the author claims is not against the rules, or at the very least is a common industry practice that SFW editors should not get upset over.

The author also interprets a complaint about "serious political errors" as being directed at certain articles that ran in Moment, but it is not clear that the SFW editors intended it that way or if they were merely referring to the illegal license use.

For the full story, see Science Fiction World topples its editor-in-chief.

As the Science Fiction World internal struggle escalates, Moment is the ultimate scapegoat

by "Masses Beset by Disaster" / Tianya

Although the attempt inside Science Fiction World on March 21 to force an abdication was unexpected, it is not surprising. Li Chang had gone to Taiwan on the 21st with a delegation from the China Association of Science and Technology, so this was an opportunity to overturn things, because at the very least public opinion would be irrecoverable once Li Chang returned to Sichuan.

Although this incident involves Science Fiction World and we as partners have been following it closely, it has nothing to do with us, for it is after all an internal power struggle, an administrative conflict between the Science Fiction World management and editors. But we never expected the script to go out of control and develop to today's status in which we have become the final "proof of guilt" in their attack on Li Chang. The wholly-innocent Moment has been swept up into this third-rate farce.

For true science fiction fans, and for people who are acquainted with Science Fiction World, the charges in this uprising are really just lines meant to fuel a certain atmosphere. Most directly, that Li Chang has held his position for less than a year, yet Science Fiction World began its slide in A Lai's later years, yet because of a rare occurrence in this period – one Science Fiction World piece successfully predicted that year's college entrance exam essay – the magazine's circulation shot up to above 400,000 copies. However, after the unexpected energy gradually subsided, the magazine basically followed a downward curve that has continued unchanged to this day. Interested individuals can consult vice-director Li Chengshu, who is in charge of Science Fiction World's circulation, for a comparison of circulation totals and rates for before and after Li Chang assumed his position, and they can conclude whether or not the charges are to be believed.

In addition, increasing ad pages, reducing expenditures, and tapping new sources of income actually form a necessary road for modern magazines to follow, especially because, as many former SFW employees have told me, the magazine was nearly unable to meet payroll prior to Li Chang coming aboard. The cost cutting, increased ad space, and partnerships that came after he joined up were measures taken in response to that difficult situation.

Having failed in each of their six other charges, the band of usurpers can only grip madly on their last token of authority, namely, that " he took the magazines under Science Fiction World and rented them out under a 'one license, multiple publications' scheme to totally unqualified individuals and companies where editing and publication was utterly uncontrolled, dealing a serious blow to the agency's legitimate publications and causing grievous harm to the agency's brand image." Per this point, I must explain that because all domestic media belongs to the state, and because public opinion must serve the party, individuals and enterprises cannot have ownership of the media. Therefore, practically all media partnerships involving foreign or private capital make use of a method by which the joint venture is responsible for operations and the magazine agency provides a periodical license. Yet these usurpers have turned this form of cooperation, used by 99% of the media, into a crime, and I believe that it is a "last, desperate attempt" at toppling the director. Because they truly can find nothing better to use.

On March 26, in the list of conditions the band of usurpers sent to the Sichuan Association for Science and Technology, article three stated, "We request that the Sichuan Provincial Party Propaganda Department and the Bureau of Press and Publications send work teams to investigate Comrade Li Chang's trade in periodical registrations, which has led to the publications exhibiting serious political errors." With this, Moment was now completely involved, because the "serious political errors" is a charge against Moment. I am truly saddened, because Moment is a fashion magazine, not a magazine of current events. Yet at the very least, the makers of Moment are Chinese people with a moral conscience, and thus the magazine expresses a little of their own conscience and opinion, because Moment is a fashion magazine with a cultural perspective.

Everyone in the Chinese media is aware of the hardships and trials involved in doing media on the mainland – you're more or less dancing with weights on – but despite it all, China still has an untold number of quality, responsible people speaking through facts. But our colleagues at Science Fiction World are sacrificing the future of a new magazine to their own internal power struggle while ignoring its excellence and moral character. Through lies and false accusations, they have in a single instant obliterated all of the hard work of their colleagues at Moment. Do the editors of Science Fiction World think that they've put their hearts into it, but the editors of Moment have not?

Take a look at what they are calling a "political error." Take a look at the so-called proof of guilt they have brought out.

Moment, August 2009 issue:


Proof of guilt #1: our compatriots who died in the July 5 incident should not be memorialized.


Evidently writing out the Constitution is illegal!!!


Below is what they see as a second problematic issue, the October 2009 issue of Moment.

Their statement to the Propaganda Committee said, "We request that the Sichuan Provincial Party Propaganda Department and the Bureau of Press and Publications send work teams to investigate Comrade Li Chang's trade in periodical registrations, which has led to the publications exhibiting serious political errors."

They believe that pop artist Andy Warhol's work on Chairman Mao is proof of guilt and a grave error, because Chairman Mao's lips in the work are rouged. There's nothing I can say. This is the 21st Century, not forty years ago. Warhol's Mao sold for 17 million RMB in New York two years ago, and that pop icon once visited China in the 70s. Chairman Mao was his idol, and his series on Mao has been republished in countless other publications. Yet today, in the eyes of the Science Fiction World usurpers, it is a grave political error, an unforgiveable sin? Are they really able to run Science Fiction World? I really have my doubts, because Warhol's Mao series was even published in Chinese magazines in the 1980s!!!!!

I'll paste them up here so you can all have a look to see whether they are political errors worthy of investigation by the propaganda committee!

October 2009


This is their second proof of guilt, the red lips:


Have a look at the evidence behind the label. There's little difference between this and the absurdity of a kid in the Cultural Revolution who criticized his parents because he garbled a few strokes when writing "Chairman Mao"!!! Thirty-four years after the end of the Cultural Revolution, who would have thought that someone in the media who self-identifies as an advocate for social justice would stop at nothing in pursuit of their own interests, even something to which that they themselves have previously shown criticism and contempt.

Finally, let me stress the fact that a group of people who, for their own benefit, concoct crimes and even political assassinations on an innocent are totally unqualified to speak of ideals and the future of a magazine.

What I really want to say is that everyone in the Chinese media is to some degree a victim, but it is not the pressure and restrictions that are frightening. What is truly frightening is when, through the course of being harmed, the mental logic and behavior of the victim become identical to that of the victimizer, and then, motivated by profit, the victim causes harm to their own peers.

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