By BAGONG JIZHE
Chinese media correspondent
BEIJING (China Daily Show) – The editorial writer for nationalist newspaper the Global Times has told friends that he would like to join strikers at the Southern Weekly, if only he could pick the lock on his chains.
For the past four days, anonymous GT op-ed writer Wen Wenwen has watched in frustration as his peers at the independent-minded Guangdong newspaper revolted against interference by local propaganda officials.
“I’d love to go on strike,” Wen complained. “But unfortunately, I am unable to disable the alarm on my ankle tag.”
According to his contract, Wen must file 1,000 words of dross-and-dribble per day on a range of topics, from slamming the West’s interference in China’s internal affairs to attacking the US for influencing domestic issues.
“It’s hard work, especially as I’m absolutely forbidden from using either logic or reason,” Wen sighed. “Last week, I wrote 800 words ferociously castigating Ai Weiwei – without ever mentioning the words ‘Ai Weiwei.’ Imagine that.”
Wen spends up to 12 hours a day in a darkened room, and is denied access to the Internet in order to research articles.
“I’d love to go on strike but I have a sick mother and two children,” Wen admitted. “The bastards have got me right where they want me. I don’t even dislike the US; I actually love Desperate Housewives.”
The argument at the Southern Weekly has meanwhile spilled out into full-scale protest, with hundreds of students, professors, retirees and journalists demonstrating outside the newspaper’s headquarters in Guangzhou.
The argument centers on a local propaganda head’s decision to unilaterally replace an original New Year’s editorial about constitutionalism with his own, ham-fisted puff piece in support of the Communist Party.
But GT’s Wen had some words of advice for his angry Southern colleagues. “You guys are lucky,” he whispered. “At least you don’t have to write that crap yourself.”
This is not the first time the Global Times has been in the news recently.
Just last week, the paper hit the headlines after an actual, physical copy was found on sale in a magazine booth in Dongzhimen. The newspaper later apologized for the error.