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Ta Kung Pao (simplified Chinese: 大公报; traditional Chinese: 大公報; pinyin: Dàgōng Bào; formerly L'Impartial) is the oldest active Chinese language newspaper in China. It is based in Hong Kong and has been funded by the government of the People's Republic of China since 1949. Widely regarded as the mouthpiece of Communist Party of China, it covers a range of political, economic and cultural topics.
In June 2002, Ta Kung Pao newspaper celebrated its 100th anniversary despite rumours that the PRC Government would cut funding for pro-communist newspapers after the 1997 transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong.
Ying Lianzhi (英斂之) founded the newspaper in Tientsin, China (now Tianjin) on 17 June 1902 in order to, in Ying's own words, "help China become a modern and democratic nation". In contrast to its present editorial style, the paper put forward the slogan 4-No-ism" (四不主義) in its early years, pledging to say "No" to any parties, governments, commercial companies, and persons.
It stood up to the repression at the time, openly criticizing the Empress Dowager Cixi and the conservative leaders in China in the early 1900s, and promoted democratic reforms, pioneering the use of the vernacular language (báihuà). Readership fell after the Xinhai Revolution in 1911 and Wang Zhilong (王郅隆) bought it in 1916. Still, the newspaper was out of print by 1925 due to the lack of readership. On 1 September 1926, however, Wu Dingchang (吳鼎昌), Hu Zhengzhi (胡政之), and Zhang Jiluan (張季鸞) re-established the newspaper in Tianjin. With "no party affiliation, no political endorsement, no self-promotion, no ignorance" (不黨, 不賣, 不私, 不盲) as its motto, the newspaper's popularity quickly rose again because of its sharp political commentary, especially of the Japanese as the Second Sino-Japanese War/World War II began.
As the war waged on, the journalists fled to other cities, such as Shanghai, Hankou, Chongqing, Guilin and Hong Kong, to continue publishing, but local editions were abandoned as the Japanese captured more and more territory. After the war was won, Wong Wan San (王芸生), the chief editor, re-established the Shanghai edition on November 1, 1945, in the original format and style of the old Shanghai edition. They had also planned to issue editions for other cities, including Guangzhou, but the Chinese Civil War forced this proposal to be shelved. Ta Kung Pao initially supported the Kuomintang during the Civil War, but switched its sympathies to the Communists after the Shanghai massacre of 1927 and other violent purges of political opponents by the Kuomintang.
In March 1948, the Hong Kong edition was re-issued. A major newspaper during the Republican years, it continued to be influential after re-publication by Fei Yi Ming, the subsequent publisher in Hong Kong after 1949, as one of few newspapers that survived foreign invasion and civil war. In April 1952, British authorities in Hong Kong tried the newspaper's proprietor, publisher, and its editor for violation of the Sedition Ordinance. Ta Kung Pao, along with the New Evening Post and Wen Wei Po were charged with inciting an uprising by negatively reporting on the colonial authorities' response to a fire in Tung Tau Tsuen. As a result, Ta Kung Pao's leadership were fined, jailed, and ordered to cease reporting for six months.
The paper was the earliest Chinese-language newspaper to establish a website "TaKungPao.com" in 1995.
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