Interview: Offices of Cutting-Edge Journal 'Occupied' by New Management Team

china-magazine-07192016.jpg Du Daozheng, 93, who was forced to retire from his post as publisher of Yanhuang Chunqiu magazine, in undated photo.

Du Daozheng, who was forced to retire from his post as publisher of Yanhuang Chunqiu magazine by its parent organization last week, has said the cutting-edge political and historical journal is now a thing of the past. Speaking to RFA's Mandarin Service from his hospital bed, Du, who is in his nineties, said a new management team is now encamped in the magazine's editorial offices:

RFA: So, is it true that Yanhuang Chunqiu is folding?

Du Daozheng: The magazine will fold but the editorial department will remain. We are still a registered private media organization with legal person status and state registration, constituted by entirely legal means. We can still carry out our social [forum] activities and we will still be able to publish certain things. We are allowed to bring out publications and to hold symposiums and seminars, and we will be able to publish articles online, and to make our voice heard. We still have around a dozen people who are very united on this, and we have made our views clear. We are working towards certain ideals, one of which is to hold high the banner of the third plenum of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China [in 1978, which launched economic reforms], which is also Deng Xiaoping Thought. We will fight for these ideals to our deaths, to the bitter end.

RFA: Did you have any inkling that this would happen to the magazine beforehand?

Du Daozheng: Some people had been in touch with me about a [ruling Chinese Communist Party] rule from 2013 which states that retired officials can't resume their post after retirement. They told me that I, as a former vice-minister, shouldn't be taking on jobs from outside my former department, because of this rule made by the party's organization department. Only people under 70 are allowed to do that, and even then, only if they get permission from higher up. But the complex nature of Yanhuang Chunqiu meant that there were a lot of retired officials and intellectuals working there, because having outsiders in the role of publisher and editor-in-chief came with its own set of problems.

RFA: So what was the outcome?

Du Daozheng: Well, they came to talk with me and they took out this document. I said I was a veteran of the party, and that I was in favor of this rule. I had agreed to implement it [in my own time], when they followed it up with a directive, immediately removing our editor-in-chief, myself and other posts. They wanted a total reshuffle of senior management, with their own people sent in to replace us. But this went against the agreement I had made with them beforehand. I did actually want to retire before, but now they've made it so I can't.

So they sent a team of people to take over in our office. They won't be leaving. They even brought their luggage with them. They have moved in and are living there 24 hours a day. How are we going to put out a magazine, now that they have destroyed its inner workings? I am getting messages from readers asking about this.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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