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Last Updated: Monday, 24 November, 2003, 17:14 GMT
China suspends hundreds of papers
Chinese newspapers
China's bulging state media is being stripped down
China has suspended the publication of 673 state-run newspapers as part of its shake-up of the media industry.

The state news agency Xinhua said the country had entered the "crucial stage" of sweeping press reforms which were announced in July.

They are aimed at bringing the industry in line with a shift towards a free market economy and reducing government spending.

Xinhua said the newspapers were suspended "for yielding no economic profit" and that another 87 have been turned into free publications.

The move will also ease the financial burden of people around the country, who have to pay for mandatory subscriptions, Liu Yunshan, the Communist Party's propaganda chief, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Under the new regulations, newspapers must be financially independent from central government.

Each province can fund only two publications and each city, one.

Government departments will also no longer be forced to subscribe to the papers.

The Communist Party mouthpieces - the Renmin Ribao newspaper and 'Seeking Truth' periodical - are the only publications to maintain their government lifeline.

The Hong Kong weekly magazine Yazhou Zhoukan has predicted that the reforms will result in around 40,000 journalists being forced out of a job.

Country profile: China
24 May 03  |  Country profiles

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