A statue of former Communist Party chief Hu Yaobang, a reformer whose death sparked the Tiananmen Square democracy protests, is unveiled in Taizhou, east China's Zhejiang province on January 6, 2013.
A statue of former Communist Party chief Hu Yaobang, a reformer whose death sparked the Tiananmen Square democracy protests, is unveiled in Taizhou, east China's Zhejiang province on January 6, 2013. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

Crowds of people gathered for the second time today outside the offices of a prominent newspaper in China. Up to 100 journalists are in an open dispute with the government about censorship at the Southern Weekly which is based in the southern province of Guangdong.

The row began when a New Year message in the paper that had called for guaranteed constitutional rights was changed by censors prior to publication and replaced with one which praised the communist party.

The BBC's Martin Patience in Beijing says the journalists are angry because the propaganda chief in that part of the country didn't consult the editors.

"This is a protest against the level of censorship in China. They're not calling for complete freedom of expression, but they want more space in the media environment."

Patience says this is a rare but significant protest because China has just installed a new generation of leaders and in many ways this represents their first political test.

"Those pushing for greater freedoms of expression will be looking very carefully at how China's new leaders handle this case to get some sign of perhaps how they might govern over the next decade."

The next edition is due out on Thursday but editors and propaganda officials are negotiating over the terms under which the journalists would be willing to publish.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.