GUANGZHOU, China — Communist Party-backed management and rebellious editors at an influential weekly newspaper have defused a high-profile standoff over censorship that turned into a test of the new Chinese leadership’s tolerance for political reform.
Under an agreement reached Tuesday, editors and reporters at the Southern Weekly will not be punished for protesting and stopping work in anger over a propaganda official’s heavy-handed rewriting of a New Year’s editorial last week, according to two members of the editorial staff. One, an editor, said propaganda officials will no longer directly censor content prior to publication.
Aside from getting the presses rolling, the agreement appears likely to deflate the confrontation that presented a knotty challenge to Chinese leader Xi Jinping two months after taking office. While the crisis began over the propaganda official’s rewriting of the editorial calling for better constitutional governance to include praise for the party, it soon evolved into calls for free expression and political reform.