Freedom of the Press: Trials and Tribulations During the Wang Jingwei Regime

編輯 EditorFrom the Editor

This August 11th, 1940 article in Zhongyang Ribao reported the bombing of Zhonghua Ribao’s office.

Freedom is never easily attained. When opposing views not only met with fierce verbal opposition, they also led to open conflict. Newspapers sponsored by the Wang Jingwei regime did not escape this fate; how to defend this freedom became essential.

Since Wang began negotiating peace with the Japanese, newspapers affiliated with his regime such as Nanhua Ribao and Zhonghua Ribao had been attacked. For example, after Wang’s telegram Securing Peace with Honour, the Peace Proposals of December 29, 1938,” also known as Yandian (December 30, 1938 telegram), was published in Hong Kong’s Nanhua Ribao, followed by reports on Wang’s activities for the next several days. Chiang Kaishek, who headed the Chongqing government was so offended that he ordered the post office on January 14th, 1939 to stop mailing out the paper. In addition, the government fired the editors Lin Bosheng and Mei Siping, who were Hong Kong representatives of the Central Press Office. Three days later, Lin was attacked in Hong Kong and sustained serious head injuries. Discussions about the peace negotiations were derailed.

Zhonghua Ribao was attacked several times as well. On October 2, 1940 a bomb was discovered in its office in Shanghai. On the 10th, two bombs were thrown at the paper’s old office, damaging some machines. On August 9, 1941 a timed sulphur bomb exploded in the press room, injuring many workers. A guard lost his left arm, and the press was stopped.

Yet, despite these challenges, Nanhua Ribao and Zhonghua Ribao pressed on amid intermittent stoppages and continued to publish differing opinions, speeches, activities, and reports. Recently digitized by the Chinese Historical Documents database, they era are now available for viewers today.

Many similar discoveries can be found by analyzing the original manuscripts and materials in all the books in the Wang Jingwei & Modern China series.