Wang Qinglei, producer of the TV program “Twenty-Four Hours” at China Central Television (CCTV) was forced to resign, and announced it on his micro-blog on the evening of Dec. 1. His leaving the network was triggered by Wang’s blogging about his disdain for the CCTV’s propaganda attacking bloggers.
His farewell blog post, “Leaving Some True Words for This Time in History,” was blocked by the following morning, and any reposts or quotes shared online have been blocked as well.
His main concerns are the suffocating control the Chinese authorities have over the media in general and his job personally.
After the arrest of Xue Manzi, a well-known microblog editor, CCTV allocated significant coverage to defame Xue for alleged prostitute visits. It was this type of propaganda that infuriated Wang, and lead him to write online about it.
“The past two weeks have been a shameful period for CCTV employees as the news reporting principles have been violated. We have shied away from legal principles and used the propaganda machine to attack the so-called spreaders of internet rumors … ”
As part of a wide-ranging crackdown in Internet bloggers, in early September the authorities issued new regulations that made a criminal offense posting comments “defamatory comments” that were clicked on 5,000 times or re-posted 500 times. State-run media described these rules as part of an effort to stop the spreading of online rumors.
“It’s getting more and more painful to be a newsman,” wrote Wang, likening it to self castration.
“There are too many news stories that we can’t report, and when it comes to news that we can report, no one believes it anymore because there is an agenda in it,” Wang wrote in his blocked post “Leaving SomeTrue Words.”
“As a journalist with conscience, the subjects I wanted to report, to voice, and the viewpoints that I wanted to express were constantly rejected or cut off. In a single year, I received more than 1,000 pieces of prohibitions for curbing news,” Wang wrote. “China needs truth. People ought to have the right to criticize the government and the authorities. They should have the right to criticize social injustice, systemic inadequacies, and interest groups.”
He acknowledged the difficulty journalists face in China, forced to chose between their livelihoods and their conscience.
“Many people know that for a journalist, especially one who dares to speak truth and attempt to guide public opinion, it is very hard to survive in China. Chinese journalists are dancing with shackles.”