There is a rumour circulating in the Chinese blogosphere, which claims that Du Daozheng 杜导正 will step down as the registered proprietor of the history journal Yanhuang Chunqiu. Radio Free Asia’s Cantonese Service yesterday interviewed Wu Si 吴思, the Executive Head of the Journal, about this. During the interview, Wu Si confirmed that the Journal’s Management Board had given in to pressure from the Chinese Ministry of Culture and had instructed him to replace Du as the registered proprietor of the Journal. Du, however, will stay on as the Head of Editorial. The filing of paperwork will take around two weeks to complete. Wu does not expect the change to have any substantial impact on the content and style of the Journal.
The decision to replace Du was made in response to a CCP official document issued before the Chinese New Year. The document, which carries an instruction from the CCP Central Office, forbids senior party members from serving as heads of newspapers and magazines. It is understood that Yanhuang Chunqiu is not the only publication affected by this order. This disciplinary action against veteran CCP members seems to be a part of a nation-wide campaign.
It is generally believed that the recent struggle to contain and neutralise the influence of Yanhuang Chunqiu signals the extent to which conflicts between different factions within the Chinese Communist Party have intensified. Since the publishing of its first issue in 1991, the Journal has striven to present the view of a more liberal faction of the CCP, as well as those who work from within the Party hierarchy to initiate political reforms. Among the patrons of the Journal are former Propaganda Chief Zhu Houze 朱厚泽, Xinhua Deputy Chief Li Pu 李普 and CCP Consultative Committee members Du Runsheng 杜润生 and Li Rui 李锐. Even former political leaders such as Hu Qili 胡启立 and Tian Jiyun 田纪云 are the Journal’s regular contributors. The prestige of its patrons guarantees that the Journal enjoys special protection from the censors. It is also the reason why Yanhuang Chunqiu‘s proprietor Du Daozheng, a former Chief of the National News and Publications Bureau, could openly reject an earlier request from Zhongnanhai to retire from his editorial position.
Most Chinese posters who have commented on this news are not expecting a major change of editorial style due to the stepping aside of Du. They also described the persecution directed towards the 90-year-old Du Daozheng as “pathetic.”
You can find a recording of RFA’s broadcast HERE. There is a Chinese transcript of the report HERE. ProState in Flames is one of the Chinese bloggers who has published a blog post about this news. Here is a LINK to his blog at Bullog International.