Journalists at a Chinese newspaper embroiled in a row over censorship have struck a deal to return to work, reports said, as protesters demanding press freedom gathered for a third day.
Demonstrators have this week massed outside the Guangzhou offices of the Southern Weekly, a popular liberal paper which had an article urging greater rights protection replaced with one praising the ruling party.
Reports Wednesday said that negotiations between government officials and the newspaper had reached an agreement that would see the journalists produce the next edition, due out on Thursday.
The South China Morning Post said the province’s Communist chief, a rising star in the party, had stepped in to mediate in the rare public dispute which is testing the new party leadership under Xi Jinping, installed in November.
“There’s a verbal agreement in place. Basically it’s back to normal, but we’ll see how the two sides react to each other in the future,” Dow Jones Newswires quoted a Southern Weekly editor as saying.
Under the deal, journalists involved in the protests would not be punished and propaganda authorities would no longer directly interfere in content before publication, Dow Jones said.