A Chinese magazine featuring a special article on the democratization of Taiwan was banned from publication, with the majority of its staffers being fired or paid not to reveal what happened, the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported yesterday.
According to the newspaper, the publisher of Kan Lishi (“Eye on History”), a Chinese monthly magazine, spiked an entire issue shortly before it was to go to print because authorities were unhappy with its focus: the democratization of Taiwan.
The Asahi Shimbun said it had learned from sources that the majority of the 20 or so editorial staffers, including the editor-in- chief, were required to submit resignations, adding that staffers and contributors were paid compensation on the condition that they did not reveal what had happened.
Based in Beijing, Kan Lishi has a circulation of 100,000 copies.
It is part of the media group that publishes the Chengdu Daily, the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, the Asahi Shimbun said.
The newspaper said it had obtained a copy of the publication, which would have been last month’s issue.
The magazine was to contain a special illustrated feature on Taiwan, containing information on Taiwanese historical sites and related information on how a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime clamped down on Taiwanese intellectuals, the newspaper said.
Among the subjects it covered was the Formosa magazine incident, a 1979 clash between Taiwanese authorities and anti-government forces sparked by authorities’ discomfort about a widely-read publication, the Asahi Shimbun said.
Following the resignations at the Chinese magazine, a new editorial team was drawn up and quickly produced a replacement section titled: “Feminine power goes virile: 100 women who changed history,” with the issue going on sale early this month, a month behind schedule, the newspaper said.
The incident was reminiscent of the case of the Southern Weekly — a hard-hitting investigative newspaper from Guangdong Province — earlier this year.
The newspaper’s edition on Jan. 3 originally carried a New Year’s editorial entitled “A Chinese Dream, A Constitutionalist Dream,” which called for political reform in response to a speech by then-Chinese vice-president Xi Jinping (習近平) in which he stated that the Chinese constitution must be implemented for the nation to survive and to become authoritative.
However, editors discovered the article was altered by the Guangdong provincial propaganda department without their knowledge and became an non-controversial piece in praise of China.
The incident triggered large-scale protests in China calling for freedom of speech.