The president and editor-in-chief of China's New Express daily, which in October published on its front page a headline in huge characters demanding the release from jail of one of its reporters, has been fired as the Chinese authorities' campaign against this "rebel" newspaper continues.
The dismissal of Li Yihang, until now the president of this daily based in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, was announced by another publication of the same publishing group, the Yangcheng Evening News, which also reported that Liu Hongbing, the Chinese Communist Party's liaison in the company, had taken the former president's place.
Another party member, Sun Xuan, will be the new editor-in-chief following Li's removal. His other duties in managing the daily will also be taken over by replacements, the report said.
The daily made itself famous last week both inside and outside of China, when for two days in a row it published on the front page with enormous black characters the word "Free Him," asking liberty for the journalist Chen Yongzhou, arrested after publishing articles critical of the Chinese construction-equipment giant Zoomlion.
Chen, who accused Zoomlion in his articles of financial fraud, appeared publicly several days later on national television channel CCTV, confessing that he had been bribed by a third party to publish those stories.
Some elements of Chinese society have expressed their doubts about whether the confession had been "forced" amid the new trend in China to "admit irregularities" on national television, even before any formal charges are brought against the suspected offender.
One of the latest of these cases was that of popular Chinese blogger Charles Xue, who after being arrested in August went on TV to admit spreading irresponsible posts on the Internet. EFE