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China paper suspends cartoonist for drawing Hu crying

Written by: Staff

HONG KONG, Sep 14 (Reuters) A newspaper in southern China has suspended a cartoonist after he drew a weeping Chinese President Hu Jintao, a Hong Kong newspaper reported today.

Depicting national leaders in cartoons is considered politically incorrect in China, although it is periodically done without repercussions, the South China Morning Post said.

But artist Kuang Biao's cartoon of a teary-eyed Hu replying to a letter from the daughter of a university professor who died from overwork aged 48 was regarded by mainland censors as unacceptable, the newspaper said.

The Guangzhou-based tabloid News Express, which published the drawing on Monday, suspended Kuang in what he considered a pre-emptive move to protect him from further punishment from the central propaganda authorities, the Post said.

''It's a gesture by the newspaper to show that action has been taken against their wayward journalist,'' the Post quoted Kuang as saying. ''Sometimes in China, a good offence is the best defence.'' Kuang is being allowed to draw for other publications under a pseudonym, it said.

China's official Xinhua news agency announced rules on Sunday requiring foreign media to seek its approval to distribute news, pictures and graphics within China.

International rights groups denounced the regulations as an attack on freedom of information.


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