Tuesday, 29 March 2016

A Public Resignation

Xi Jinping visited CCTV in February and headlined the news that evening
An editor at Southern Metropolis Daily has quit in a very public fashion. He took a picture of his resignation letter and posted it on his Weibo account.

Needless to say it was taken down soon afterwards, thought it was cached by other websites.

Yu Shaolei had worked at the Guangzhou-based newspaper since 2000 and was editor of the culture department.

However, he apparently had enough.

He explained in the resignation form that he could no longer "follow your surname", a reference to Chinese President Xi Jinping's directive that the state and party media must "be surnamed party" -- or answer to the Party first.
Yu Shaolei's resignation that he posted on Weibo

It follows Xi's visit to major state media outlets in February, saying staff -- oops -- media workers -- must follow directions from the Party first and foremost.

Yu's explanation for his decision to quit was translated by China Digital Times:

This spring, let's make a clean break. I'm getting old; after bowing for so long, I can't stand it anymore. I want to see if I can adopt a new posture. To the person responsible for monitoring my Weibo and notifying his superiors about what I should be made to delete: You can heave a sigh of relief. Sorry for the stress I've caused you these last few years, and I sincerely hope your career can take a new direction. And to those friends who care about me, I won't even say goodbye, Southern Media Group.

Xi gets applause after visiting another state media outlet
Southern Media Group is one of the more liberal media outlets mostly because it is located in southern China, near Hong Kong. However in recent years, there have been attempts to muzzle it and other Guangdong-based media outlets, despite their attempts to cover sensitive topics like deaths in police custody and the SARS outbreak.

In 2013, journalists at Southern Weekend, a sister publication to Southern Metropolis Daily, protested after a local official rewrote the editorial. Originally the paper called for proper implementation of the constitution, but instead at the last minute it was pulled and in its place was a piece praising the Communist Party of China.

Poor Yu couldn't take the censorship anymore and can anyone blame him?

And he's in the culture department! What indignities did he suffer through to announce his resignation so publicly with the creative flourish of a pen?

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