Chinese in rare protest outside newspaper over censorship Demonstrators staged a rare protest in support of one of Chinaâ€™s most respected and liberal newspapers as a feud over press freedom threatened to throw up the first major challenge to incoming president Xi Jinping. Witnesses said up to 200 people converged outside the Guangzhou newsroom of the Southern Weekend newspaper demanding an end to the stifling censorship of their countryâ€™s media. Photographs posted on social media showed demonstrators carrying signs calling for â€œfree press, constitutional government and democracy.â€ The protest, which ended peacefully, was triggered by an acrimonious dispute between government officials and journalists from the Southern Weekend newspaper who claim censors have been conducting an increasingly aggressive clampdown on their work since last year. The crisis exploded into the open on New Yearâ€™s Day after Southern Weekend reporters accused Tuo Zhen, Guangdong provinceâ€™s propaganda chief, of transforming a lengthy newspaper editorial calling for political reform into a gushing homage to Chinaâ€™s Communist Party. According to an analysis by the University of Hong Kongâ€™s China Media Project, the original version argued Chinese citizens should be allowed to â€œvoice their criticisms of power loudly and confidently.â€ The altered text, however, was less critical and was published under the headline: â€˜We Are Now Closer to Our Dream Than Ever Beforeâ€™. ' David Bandurski, the China Media Project editor, said Mr Tuoâ€™s â€œin your face [and] offensiveâ€ intervention had proved the final straw for many of the newspaperâ€™s censorship-weary staff, who reportedly decided to go on strike on Sunday. The newspaperâ€™s journalists believed propaganda officials had broken â€œa gentlemanâ€™s code of how you do and donâ€™t control the media,â€ Mr Bandurski added. â€œIf they donâ€™t push back what will be left of their paper?â€ The crisis escalated last Friday when journalists publically slammed Mr Tuoâ€™s â€œbrutalâ€, â€œignorantâ€ and â€œcatastrophicâ€ intervention. Dozens of leading academics then followed suit, using an open letter to call on Guangdongâ€™s new party chief, Hu Chunhua, to sack Mr Tuo for his â€œoverbearing actions.â€ He Weifang, a legal expert from Peking University and one of the letterâ€™s signatories, said the incident was a â€œchallenge to the new central leadership.â€ â€œSo far they have not displayed their stance on political reform. This time, public anger may well test the new leadership.â€ On Monday, one week after the adulterated editorial was published, protestors took to the streets outside the newspaperâ€™s Guangzhou HQ. In an apparent allusion to the death of press freedom, several carried yellow chrysanthemums. One protestor, Ah Qiang, told the Daily Telegraph the crisis was about more than newspapers. â€œThis involves not just one media outlet - Southern Weekend - but everyone. It is everyoneâ€™s business. [It is about] everyoneâ€™s rights,â€ he said. Mr Bandurski, from the China Media Project, said the controversy now posed serious questions of the direction China was likely to move in under incoming president Xi Jinping. â€œIt is not just a media story anymore. It is about what direction China is heading in,â€ he said. â€œEver since the 18th Communist Party Congress [Xi] has touted himself and the new top seven leaders as representing a new style of leadership and this has been pushed very heavily by the state media.â€ But while media reports had painted Xi as a â€œSpartan, no-nonsense and more openâ€ leader, the so-called â€œNew Yearâ€™s Greetingâ€ episode had led many to doubt that. â€œThese are signs that look right now like steps backwards not steps forward,â€ Mr Bandurski said. Mr He, from Peking University, said it was too early to say if Mr Tuo would be sacked or what consequences the newspaperâ€™s journalists might face. But the central governmentâ€™s reaction would give an early indication of what ordinary Chinese could expect from their government over the coming decade, he added. Shi Anbin, a professor of media studies from Beijingâ€™s Tsinghua University, said the incident underlined the â€œever-growing tensionâ€ between Chinese journalists and their government. But the crisis, coming as Chinaâ€™s new leadership took power, could provide â€œan opportunity of initiating genuine press reform in Chinaâ€, he added. So far Beijing has sought to play down the incident. â€œThere is no censorship of the media in China,â€ a foreign affairs spokesman said last week. Chinese in rare protest outside newspaper over censorship - Telegraph ******************************** The unbridled economic boom which Hu categorised as 'unbalanced' has returned to bite China having caused inequalities and exposure to the free world and its ways. For any totalitarian and dictatorial regime like China to survive, it is essential that it is isolated from the influences of the outside world and conditioned to believe every word of its Govt who are the Masters. Mao realised this and kept China isolated till his death. Deng sold himself to capitalism and allowed Communist party hacks to feed their ancient passion of wealth and money and the Communists went head over heels in acquiring wealth, ,mostly through illegal means. They encouraged the Chinese people to do so too, but ensured that they are satisfied but not too wealthy to challenge the party hacks. They were allowed to go abroad. Those who went abroad, got infatuated with the fresh air of freedom and spread the message when they returned. Those not too rich could go to Hong kong and realise that the Mainland people were caged birds being fed with mere droppings. Western China remained poor as a church mouse while Coastal China rolled in wealth. Inequality was being observed by a people, who till recently were equal in sharing poverty. Frustrations grew. Now it appears Deng has created a powder keg where revolt is becoming the signature. Deng has played into the hands of the US as Gorbachev did! Interesting that people underestimate the US as a 'has been'.