8 January 2013, 15:47

China celebrities back protest Southern Weekly newspaper

China celebrities back protest Southern Weekly newspaper

Chinese bloggers and celebrities threw their support behind journalists at a newspaper enmeshed in a censorship row. “One word of truth outweighs the whole world,” celebrity Chinese actress Yao Chen quoted the Russian Nobel Prize Literature winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn in a microblog post that was accompanied by the Southern Weekly newspaper’s logo.

The widespread backing came after hundreds demonstrated at the Guangzhou headquarters of the popular liberal newspaper Southern Weekly, after an article urging greater respect of constitutional rights was censored by an official.

Wang Keqin, an investigative reporter on another newspaper, posted Tuesday on China's Twitter-like Weibo service: "A black hand closes heavy, black curtain, blocking brightness and fresh air as there is no weekend any more in the south."

Yao Chen, an actress who has 32 million followers on her Weibo account, earlier posted the paper's logo and quoted Russian dissident Alexandr Solzhenitsyn: "One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world".

Fellow actor Chen Kun, who has 27 million followers, replied: "I am not that deep, and don't play with words, I support the friends at Southern Weekly".

The paper's Chinese name translates as Southern Weekend but it is widely known as Southern Weekly in English.

Chinese journalists strike over censorship

In the first walkout of this kind by the staff of a major publication in nearly two decades, journalists with China’s Southern Weekend newspaper have gone on strike against meddling by propaganda officials.

A small crowd of protesters gathered on Monday outside the paper’s office in Guangzhou.

The unrest at the influential newspaper began last week when censors decided to replace the paper’s traditional New Year’s letter to readers with an article glorifying the country’s ruling Communist party.

Voice of Russia, BBC, AFP

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