BEIJING: A Chinese newspaper published a front-page call yesterday for police to free a journalist detained after reporting “financial problems” at a partly state-owned company, in a rare example of media defying authorities.
The New Express tabloid, based in Guangzhou in the southern province of Guangdong, carried the full-page editorial under the headline “Please release our man” in oversized stark black print.
Its journalist Chen Yongzhou was held on Friday by police on “suspicion of damaging business reputation” after he wrote 15 articles on “financial problems” at Zoomlion, a giant engineering company.
The firm is about 20 percent owned by the state, and is listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges with a total market capitalisation of more than $8bn.
It is one of China’s biggest manufacturers of construction machinery, such as bulldozers, and a major tax contributor to Changsha city in the neighbouring province of Hunan.
“We are a small newspaper, but we have the backbone no matter how poor we are,” said the editorial, adding it was “ashamed” for not having spoken out earlier due to fears that Chen might be maltreated. AFP