On March 1, thirteen newspapers including the Economic Observer and Southern Metropolitan News published a joint commentary promoting reforming the household registration system (which separates farmers from city residents and creates unequal rights between them). The commentary was a reminder to the upcoming National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (PPCC) in Beijing. It was a rare media joint action that was undertaken without government authorization.
The Chinese government has disciplined these newspapers. Zhang Hong, the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Economic Observer was fired. Other top managers at the Economic Observer received a serious warning from the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department. Representatives to the NPC and PPCC were warned not to bring up the topic of household registration system reform.
Source: Voice of America, March 10, 2010