The editor-in-chief of the Guangzhou-based New Express, Lu Fumin, has been axed after 14 years at the paper, and moved to head the political desk at another sister paper within the group. Key sections in the paper, including the editorial page, have also been axed, and coverage on national and international news has been drastically cut in a major reshuffle that will see the paper focus more on local and lifestyle news going forward.
Lu’s possible transgression according to the SCMP:
Veteran Guangdong journalists said the move, probably ordered by provincial propaganda authorities, was the result of its publication of a full page of reports on July 10 about the early lives of five Politburo members.
The reports, reprinted from Shandong’s Jinan Daily, appeared to rank the five, with Vice-President Xi Jinping, widely expected to be the party’s next general secretary and the nation’s next president, placed in the centre of the page; Li Keqiang , tipped to be the next premier, in the left-hand column; and Vice-Premier Wang Qishan, party organisation department chief Li Yuanchao and Chongqing party boss Zhang Dejiang sharing the right side of the page.
A similar crackdown has also happened at the Oriental Morning Post, which is by far the most outspoken, liberal paper to come out of Shanghai. The publisher of the paper, Lu Yan, was moved to another division within the group, and deputy editor-in-chief Sun Jian has apparently been suspended.
The back story, once again according to the SCMP:
A separate veteran Shanghai-based journalist said that municipal party secretary Yu Zhengsheng was unhappy with the newspaper’s stories. “Yu has criticised some of the newspaper’s reports in recent months, so the paper had to do something about it,” he said.
Sources with the paper said top Shanghai party officials had ordered the city’s publicity department to tighten control over the paper. They said Lu’s departure was the result of a series of perceived radical reports, including one about reform-minded liberal economist Mao Yushi .
They also said that Sun was suspended because he posted a picture of the cover of a book, Conversations with Chen Xitong, on his microblog. The book, published earlier this year outside the mainland, features interviews with the purged former Beijing mayor Chen Xitong, including his role in the crackdown on the 1989 pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square.