China Orders Journal Closed Over N.Korea Story

From Jonathan Lassen <>
Date Tue, 21 Sep 2004 21:28:59 -0500
User-agent Mozilla Thunderbird 0.6 (Windows/20040502)

China Orders Journal Closed Over N.Korea Story

Tuesday, September 21, 2004; 6:53 AM

By John Ruwitch

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has ordered the closure of the influential 
bimonthly journal "Strategy and Management," possibly for good, after it 
published a controversial article on North Korea, an editor said on Tuesday.

A leading academic journal that covered diplomacy, domestic politics and 
economics, "Strategy and Management" was respected at home and abroad 
for publishing thought-provoking, independent views that sometimes 
challenged government policies.

One of the journal's editors said it was ordered to stop publication 
because of an article in its fourth issue this year that was highly 
critical of North Korea. The editor did not specify which article.

"It may be stopped forever," the editor said. "It was the State Press 
and Publication Administration that informed us."

China's academic community was abuzz with discussion of the closure of 
the journal.

"If it's been asked to stop for good, I think that will be a very, very 
bad case," said a Chinese foreign relations expert at a prestigious 
university in Beijing who declined to be named.

"It could indicate a tightening of political censorship," said the 
scholar, who had published several articles in "Strategy and Management."

Foreign news reports said the controversial article pinned the blame for 
the nuclear crisis on North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and criticized him 
for trying to maintain a system of "dynastic rule."

The magazine's closure highlights how sensitive relations between 
Beijing and Pyongyang have become.

Despite having fought together in the 1950-53 Korean War, relations 
between China and North Korea are not what they used to be and have been 
strained by a festering international crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear 

An official with the periodicals department at the State Press and 
Publication Administration, which censors print media in China, declined 
to say why the journal was ordered to close.

"It's hard to say if it will resume publication," the person said.

The article was so sensitive all copies of the issue were recalled.

"The magazines arrived on Aug. 17, but we were asked not to distribute 
them," said Gu Lei, an official at the International Post Office in 
Beijing, which distributes magazines and newspapers.

The journal, which was started in 1993, was known for taking risks and 
even in recent years published under a pseudonym an article by Chen 
Ziming, an academic who was branded a "black hand" of the 1989 
pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and served 13 years in jail 
and house arrest.

Despite the journal's closure, the Strategy and Management Research 
Society, a think-tank headed by former Vice Premier Gu Mu, still exists, 
a Chinese source with ties to the journal's top editors said.

In recent years, the magazine had been dogged by problems and 
circulation had dropped from a high of around 12,000 to about 1,000, the 
source said.

"It has no money to carry on," said the source. The magazine owes 
creditors millions of yuan after an employee embezzled money, the source 

(Additional reporting by Benjamin Kang Lim)