A prominent Chinese newspaper columnist who regularly wrote about government corruption and democratic reforms has been ousted from his job amid signs of tightened censorship in China.
The columnist, Chang Ping, wrote for the Southern Media Group, which publishes some of the country's best known newspapers. Now, he says he has been forced out "because I have always written critical articles" and refused to tone them down in the future.
Chang has written about a variety of sensitive topics, including media censorship, the failures of government policy and the need for greater political and personal freedoms in China.
Chang said the government's control of the media has intensified after imprisoned Chinese democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year. China regularly condemned the award to Liu Xiaobo, calling him a criminal.
The 42-year-old Chang said his dismissal is part of a broader crackdown on Chinese journalists.
He noted that one journalist was recently dismissed after writing about official negligence and influence peddling. In another case, an editor was forced out after his publication compiled a list of influential people that included a jailed activist and several dissidents.