Du Daozheng, the president and founder of political journal Yanhuang Chunqiu, said he will not accept a shake-up and would rather close the magazine than let others change the magazine’s style, Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) reported on Friday.
The editorial board of Yanhuang Chunqiu, a liberal monthly journal known for bold discussions on politics and history, was recently reshuffled by The Chinese National Academy of Arts.
The academy, with which the journal is affiliated, published a notice on July 12 and declared that the academy’s leadership decided to replace or demote the editorial leadership, including its president, editor-in-chief, vice-presidents and deputy editors. According to the notice, the academy appointed a new management team for the journal led by Jia Leilei, the academy’s vice-president, who replaced Du Daozheng as the president of Yanhuang Chunqiu.
The journal said its editorial board has enlisted the services of a lawyer and intends to sue the academy, RTHK reported.
The magazine was founded in 1991 and has been known for publishing outspoken articles, often involving topics such as constitutionalism and the Cultural Revolution
. It has received the backing of many retired senior officials.
According to a previous report by the Global Times, Yanhuang Chunqiu was ordered to make its supervisory body the Chinese National Academy of Arts in 2014. Wu Si, editor-in-chief of the journal, told the Global Times that he was concerned that the journal’s style might be changed after the switch of supervisory body
On June 27, A Beijing court ruled against Yanhuang Chunqiu’s former chief editor, Hong Zhenkuai, who questioned the factual truth of narratives about a group of Chinese revolutionary heroes.
“Free speech is not without boundaries, and it should be protected on the premise that it does not infringe on other people's legal rights,” one of the leading judges said of the journal’s alleged defamation of the heroes.
An unconfirmed statement allegedly issued by Du is spreading online has voiced strong opposition to the decision from the Chinese National Academy of Arts. The statement claims that Du and his colleagues are trying to defend their magazine and their “outspoken” style from the shake-up. It also said they are preparing for the closure of Yanhuang Chunqiu, Taipei-based Central News Agency (CAN) reported
CNA also reported that Xu Qingquan, the current editor-in-chief of Yanhuang Chunqiu, said he cannot confirm that the statement was made by Du, but its style appears similar to that of Du or his daughter.