China magazine spikes Taiwan issue, fires staff

March 23, 2013

By KENTARO KOYAMA/ Correspondent

GUANGZHOU, China--The publisher of a Chinese monthly history magazine spiked an entire issue shortly before it went to print because authorities were unhappy with its focus: the democratization of Taiwan. It also fired much of its staff.

Informed sources told The Asahi Shimbun that the majority of the 20 or so editorial staff at Kan Lishi (Eye on History), including the editor in chief, were required to submit resignations. They, and contributors, were paid compensation on condition that they did not reveal what happened.

Kan Lishi, based in Beijing, has a circulation of 100,000 copies. It is part of the media group that publishes "Chengdu Daily," the organ of the Communist Party in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.

Sources close to the editorial office said the drama unfolded in late January, shortly before the February 2013 issue was to roll off the presses.

The magazine was to contain a special illustrated feature on Taiwan, a copy of which The Asahi Shimbun has obtained. It contained information on Taiwanese historical sites and related how the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) dictatorship clamped down on Taiwanese intellectuals. Among the subjects it covered was the Formosa magazine incident, a 1979 clash between Taiwanese authorities and anti-government forces sparked by authorities' discomfort over a widely-read publication.

A new editorial team was drawn up, which dashed out a replacement section titled: "Feminine power goes virile: 100 women who changed history."

The February issue went on sale in early March, a month behind schedule.

By KENTARO KOYAMA/ Correspondent
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A woman takes a magazine at a newsstand in Beijing. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

A woman takes a magazine at a newsstand in Beijing. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • A woman takes a magazine at a newsstand in Beijing. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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