On January 8, 2013, the Epoch Times published an article titled, “Incidents of Censorship in China Offer Test of New Leadership.” At a December 4, 2013, political meeting, Party leader Xi Jinping said, “A country ruled by law should first be ruled by the constitution and lawful governance should be based on the constitution.” After the new year, two influential liberal publications, Southern Weekend and Yanhuang Chunqiu, published special editorials echoing Xi’s call for lawful governance based on the constitution. Both editorials were harshly censored.
In the case of Southern Weekend, provincial propaganda chief Tuo Zhen secretly re-wrote its special editorial. After the publication of the re-written editorial, the journalists from Southern Weekend went on strike. Hundreds of Chinese came to the newspaper’s offices, laying flowers and expressing solidarity with the journalists. In response, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on January 4, 2013, that China upholds press freedom and “there is no news censorship in China.” On January 7, 2013, the Central Propaganda Department officials handed down three instructions: “It is an unbreakable basic principle that the Party governs the media; Tuo Zhen had nothing to do with the changes made to Southern Weekend’s New Year’s editorial; the incident involved hostile foreign forces.”
Source: The Epoch Times, January 8, 2013