After 23 years in operation, at 4:00 PM Hong Kong time on April 26 the Beijing-based Duowei News (a.k.a. Multidimensional News; Dwnews.com) portal was shut down and all content was removed from the website. In a surprise announcement, it stated: "The website and APP of Duowei News will bid farewell to all readers, due to the adjustments of the internal news business. Thank you for your company and attention over the years."
Duowei News claims that the closure was due to adjustments in company operations. However, many analysts believe that Beijing forced its closure to safeguard Chinese President Xi Jinping's power and authority from being challenged by the content published by Duowei News.
According to public documents, Duowei News was founded in 1999 by Ho Pin, an overseas Chinese media veteran, and was originally headquartered in New York. It was acquired by Hong Kong media mogul Yu Pun-hoi, founder of HK01.com, in 2009, and its headquarters were moved to Beijing. At the same time, it operated editorial offices in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Duowei News originally included Duowei Monthly, which was closed last year, and Duowei News Network. It is notable that although Duowei was headquartered in Beijing, it was not available in mainland China and was accessible only abroad.
It is worth noting that people in China, both elites and ordinary citizens, could access Duowei News by using VPNs to bypass the Internet Great Firewall. Furthermore, senior leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), its propaganda department, and its network control arm are not subject to these restrictions, and could devote attention to Duowei News content at any time. This was clearly evident from reader comments and discussion boards on site.
It is reported that the announcement of the closure of Duowei News Network refers mainly to the closure of its Beijing editorial office; Duowei's editorial office in Taipei closed at the end of 2021.
"Starting from April 26, 2022 (Hong Kong time), the website and APP of Duowei News will bid farewell to all readers due to the adjustments of the internal news business, and thank you for your company and attention over the years. Duowei News, April 26, 2022"
Duowei News Is Widely Seen As Having A 'Jiang Zemin Faction' Tinge
Following its 2009 acquisition by Yu Pun-hoi, Duowei News changed its news guidelines dramatically. Starting then, it began to be labeled as a foreign propaganda arm of the Chinese Communist regime. Interestingly, a year before his acquisition of Duowei News, Yu Pun-hoi enrolled, at age 50, in the School of Marxism at Peking University to pursue a doctorate in Marxist philosophy.
Duowei News is a subsidiary of Hong Kong's Nan Hai Corporation Limited, and HK01 is also a subsidiary of the same corporation. Yu Pun-hoi is the chairman of the board of Nan Hai Corporation and founder of the HK01 news portal. In addition to media business, Nan Hai Corporation also invests in real estate, cinemas, and other businesses in China.
Some overseas Chinese political commentators and writers have pointed out that Duowei News is the voice of Jiang Zemin, the former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) chief, whose faction is challenging Xi's power ahead of the 20th National Chinese Communist Party Congress. The Congress is set to be held in the second half of 2022.
On April 25, the day before it shut down, Duowei News published an article titled "Why The Pandemic Is Out Of Control In Shanghai: Analysis Points To The Ineffective Control Measures." The article was fiercely critical of the Shanghai pandemic prevention authorities, Shanghai's draconian COVID-19 quarantine measures, and the current situation, and suggested that Xi Jinping should step down.
After a six-minute documentary film about the devastation caused by the chaotic lockdown in Shanghai, released on April 22 and titled "The Voice of April," went viral in China, Duowei News reported on it with a degree of criticism that exceeded Beijing's limits.
"The Voice of April" (Source: YouTube.com)
Jiang Zemin vs Xi Jinping
Reports and analyses state that Jiang Zemin has great influence in Shanghai, a political stronghold where he made his fortune. From the wholesale produce business to the airport and industrial construction projects, much is controlled by Jiang's family. Jiang Zemin is trying to leverage the Shanghai lockdown to escalate popular resentment and block Xi Jinping's third term as the head of the CCP and the state.
For another example, in 2015, when Xi Jinping was in the midst of conducting sweeping anti-corruption campaign, Duowei News published an article stating: "Jiang Zemin, the former leader of the Chinese Communist Party who has been 'declared dead' for many times, is currently experiencing the most severe political hurricane in his life. [This is] because, in the two years since Xi Jinping took office following the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, those who have been targeted and attacked by the anti-corruption officials – who have been shouting the slogan of 'cracking down on both tigers and flies' and brandishing the anti-corruption broadsword – are all those who belong to Jiang Zemin's faction."
On June 10, 2021, a special Duowei News piece titled "Who Will Supervise The CCP Central Committee?" directly asked: "Will the CCP Central Committee and the General Secretary also be supervised, and what kind of supervision will they have?"
Every so often, Duowei News would "set traps" for Xi Jinping. For example, another article published in June 2021 underlined the arrival of three U.S. senators at Taipei Songshan Airport in Taiwan on a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane in order to embarrass the Xi Jinping regime.
Duowei News has now been shut down by Beijing, citing "adjustments of the internal news business" and "perennial losses," according to some so-called internal sources. But it is well known that the CCP media outlets for foreign propaganda almost always operate in the red. Beijing does not expect them to make money as long as they accomplish their propaganda purposes.
The Hong King-based media outlet Ming Pao reported: "A source close to Duowei News said that its employees were suddenly notified on the same day [about the closure]. However, Duowei News had not paid its employees for at least six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other reasons. It is understood that Duowei had nearly 200 people in its Beijing editorial office in 2015, and now has about 50 to 60 people in its Beijing office."
Duowei Challenged The "Emperor To Abdicate"
However, many articles in Duowei News were considered to contain messages along the lines of "forcing the emperor to abdicate."
A Chinese political commentator living overseas, Zhang Jie (张杰), acknowledged that Duowei News "sometimes published articles criticizing Xi Jinping, but it was more to guide to the political trend. I guess it belonged to a certain faction of the CCP, and now there may [have been] articles that angered Xi Jinping. Which [outlet] will become the next Duowei News? I have a hunch that a new media outlet under the CCP's foreign propaganda will surface soon."
For example, on December 3, 2018, Duowei News reposted an article from its own magazine, titled "The Ultra-Leftists Are Tearing China Apart, And Xi Jinping Should Take Responsibility," on its portal website. The article criticized Xi Jinping and political censorship, and pointed out that the CCP currently lacked theories, suggesting that it should conduct a review. It stressed that Xi Jinping "just wants to become another Mao Zedong" and that Xi, as the core of a major party that was almost 100 years old, "must conduct self-examination."
The article immediately sparked heated discussion. Duowei News took down the article the next day, changed the title to "Preventing The Extreme Leftists From Tearing China Apart, Xi Jinping Is Powerfully Setting Things Right," and reposted it.
The shutdown of Duowei News by Beijing is a sign that Xi Jinping is using an iron fist to purge the CCP of his political enemies, ahead of the party's 20th National Congress. The political climate in Beijing today is very harsh, and Xi Jinping cannot stand to have even a bit of grit in his eye. Whether it be a mild discussion of the current situation and politics or the so-called "less scolding and more help," it is not tolerated.
For instance, Beijing's Zero-COVID policy is clearly not scientifically and humanly viable, and has caused many grave secondary disasters – but since it is already an immutable national policy formulated by the Supreme Leader of the Central Committee of the CCP, not even an iota of "groundless criticism" can be tolerated.
*Chris King is Senior Research Fellow for the MEMRI Chinese Media Studies Project. King was an active participant in the student protests in China in 1989.
 Youtube.com/watch?v=5pzwkFCAv44, uploaded April 23, 2022.
 Xi Jinping's central government in Beijing, especially its Zero-COVID policy, has been met with resistance from the Shanghai bureaucracy, which still has a large number of Zemin faction officials. It is worth noting that Shanghai is central for Chinese politics. On March 24, 2007, Xi Jinping, who was the Party chief of neighboring Zhejiang Province, was transferred to the post of Party secretary of CCP Shanghai Committee. On October 22, 2007, the first plenum of the 17th CCP Central Committee was held, and Xi Jinping was promoted from a provincial leader to a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee, becoming a member of the Party's top leadership body. Xi Jinping was placed in Shanghai as Party secretary for just seven months, an obviously transitional arrangement designed to burnish Xi and prepare him for the transition from being a local leader of China to a top leader of the Party and state. In fact, Shanghai is not only the largest city in China, the most economically developed city, and the only metropolis with international influence in China, but it is also the Chinese city most valued by Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin, the successive top leaders of the CCP. Zemin himself went from Shanghai Party secretary to the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party after the June 4th Tiananmen Massacre. An unwritten rule in the Party's leadership selection process is that those who have served in developed provinces and municipalities, especially Shanghai, are generally promoted.
 News.mingpao.com, April 27, 2022. The Ming Pao media outlet's influence and credibility in the eyes of the Hong Kong people and industry insiders have always been good. Yu Pun-hoi, who owned Duowei News, bought Ming Pao in 1991 and owned it until 1994.
 Twitter.com/ZJ20672066/status/1518978341931569152, April 26, 2022.