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China 19 October 2006

New purge at China Youth Daily

Reporters Without Borders is dismayed by a fresh purge launched by the Communist Party Youth League and the Propaganda Department within the management and editorial staff of Zhongguo Qingnian Bao (China Youth Daily).

The government is punishing the newspaper’s managers for failing to rein in an editorial team which is seen as too liberal.

"The managers and staff of this newspaper are still being made to pay for the Bing Dian case and an outspokenness that displeases the communist party censors,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

These new sanctions are to remind Chinese journalists that their fate remains dependent on the goodwill of their supervisory body and the Propaganda Department,” said the organisation.

On 13 October, Li Erliang was removed from his job as chief editor of Zhongguo Qingnian Bao and was named chief editor of Zhonghua Er Nu (Children of the Fatherland), a much less important publication which trumpets the achievements of prominent Chinese. Like the Zhongguo Qingnian Bao, Zhonghua Er Nu belongs to the Communist Party Youth League. Li Erliang was replaced by Chen Xiaochun, a journalist on the daily for 30 years. He had already replaced Li Datong at the head of the famous Bing Dian supplement.

Likewise, Wang Hongyou who was both director and secretary general of the communist party cell within Zhongguo Qingnian Bao, lost his post as director to Xu Lixin.

One journalist in Beijing said these replacements could be temporary. Loyal members of the Communist Party Youth League, traditional supporters of President Hu Jintao, could be appointed to exert greater control over this newspaper which sells by subscription to hundreds of thousands of people.

In February 2006, Bing Dian a popular investigative weekly supplement to Zhongguo Qingnian Bao, had two of its leading staff removed, Li Datong and Lu Yaogang. The two journalists were sidelined by being sent to the daily’s centre for journalism research.

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