|Global Times' chief editor Hu Xijin penning another column|
We don't quite know the exact outcome, but the journalists are back at work at the respected paper and Guangdong propaganda chief Tuo Zhen will step down at some point.
In the meantime some celebrity supporters of the paper's journalists were given official warnings in the form of "having tea", while other activists were taken away by police.
Just before the crisis was averted, the Global Times wrote a scathing editorial Monday, claiming the incident was provoked by "external forces" and newspapers across the country were ordered to reprint it the following day, and only a few obeyed.
Now internet users and former journalists are criticizing the Global Times, saying its editorial was a blow to its credibility.
"I just find the whole thing disgraceful," said one Global Times journalist. "The editorial jeopardized our hard work to produce good stories."
Other former journalists of the paper said they found the editorial "heartbreaking". "No matter whether the editorial is an order from the top officials, it is politically motivated," one said.
Meanwhile the Global Times chief editor Hu Xijin stated on his microblog that the phrase "external forces" was not used in the editorial but in the headlines of major websites to attract attention. Regardless the former war correspondent most probably had a hand in writing the editorial, as he usually does.
The Global Times is a nationalistic paper, keen on whipping up patriotic fervor and sometimes covers sensitive issues to stir up controversy and increase readership.
This is the mandate Hu has been following or perhaps leading with the consent of higher ups.
Qiao Mu, a Beijing-based journalism professor, said Hu may have believed he could lead the discussion on the Southern Weekly saga.
But he added, "He has put himself in a disadvantaged position", hinting Hu miscalculated on trying to stir up anti-foreigner sentiment.
Internet users are teasing Hu for being the government's obedient dog, nicknaming him "frisbee Hu", an editor who will eagerly takes a positive spin on whatever the government throws him.
Ouch... or should we say, Ruff, ruff.