BEIJING An aggressive tabloid newspaper has had its Web site censored and could face further punishment by China's media authorities for running a photograph from the still-taboo 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement.
Editors at the Beijing News declined comment Friday about the photo published Thursday: a black-and-white image showing wounded young men in bloodstained shirts on the back of a three-wheeled cart. Captioned "The Wounded," the photo was one of four that accompanied a profile of Liu Heung Shing, a former photographer for The Associated Press and Time.
Within hours of Thursday's publication, the photos and article were removed from the newspaper's Web site. Authorities also ordered issues of Thursday's newspaper recalled from newsstands, Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper reported Friday.
Phones at the information office of the Beijing city government rang unanswered, while the General Administration of Press and Publication did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment. Beijing News was available as usual at newsstands on Friday.
The incident shows the enduring sensitivity of the protests and their bloody suppression, even nearly two decades later. The protests and crackdown are only obliquely referred to, if ever, by state-run media. The ruling Communist Party has refused to disclose the number of people killed or allow a public investigation into the events.
Neither the photo, which ran on page C15 and which Liu photographed while working for the AP, nor the article mentioned the protests. The three other photos showed a man roller-skating by a Mao Zedong statue, young men wearing sunglasses and a couple chatting along a brick wall. They were part of a regular feature on China's changes since it began economic reforms 30 years ago.
The image of the wounded, however, is instantly recognizable to Chinese who remember the events of 1989.
While it was unclear why the photo was chosen, the Beijing News has gained a reputation for being a probing and often liberal voice in the often staid, controlled world of Chinese media. To rein in the publication, propaganda authorities have fired and transferred senior editors, including once in late 2005 apparently for reporting on official corruption.Liu, who lives in Beijing and represents Hollywood's Creative Artists' Agency, refused to comment. Liu worked for the AP in Beijing, New Delhi, Los Angeles and Moscow, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1992 as part of a team that documented the attempted coup in the Soviet Union and the collapse of the Communist government.
On the Net:
Beijing News site: www.thebeijingnews.com