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Hundreds protest censorship of Chinese newspaper

Scholars and protesters demand reforms after China's leadership censored an editorial from one of the nation's most daring newspapers.

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In this photo taken and provided by activist Wu Wei, a man wearing a mask labeled "Silent" holds a banner reading: "Let's chase our dreams together, go Southern Weekly newspaper" during a protest outside the headquarters of the newspaper in Guangzhou on Monday, Jan. 7.

Wu Wei / AP Photo

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A dispute over censorship at a Chinese newspaper known for edgy reporting evolved Monday into a political challenge for China's new leadership as prominent scholars demanded a censor's dismissal and hundreds of protesters called for democratic reforms.

The scholars and protesters were acting in support of the Southern Weekly in its confrontation with a top censor after the publication was forced to change a New Year's editorial calling for political reform into a tribute praising the ruling Communist Party. Rumors circulated that at least one of the newspaper's news departments was going on strike, but they could not be immediately confirmed.

Protesters, including middle school students and white-collar workers, gathered outside the offices of the newspaper in the southern city of Guangzhou to lay flowers at the gate, hold signs and shout slogans calling for freedom of speech, political reform, constitutional governance and democracy.

 
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