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Chinese newspaper's dispute with censors sparks street protest for political freedom

A dispute over censorship at a Chinese newspaper known for edgy reporting has prompted a few hundred people to gather in a rare street protest urging Communist Party leaders to allow greater political freedom.

Two protesters say the crowd stood outside the offices of the Southern Weekly newspaper Monday in Guangzhou and that some held up signs and shouted slogans calling for freedom of speech, political reform, constitutional governance and democracy.

The gathering follows a confrontation between some of the paper's journalists and a top censor after the publication was forced to change a New Year's editorial calling for political reform into a tribute praising the ruling party.

The case is unusual because what started as a censorship dispute has rapidly evolved into a political challenge for China's new leadership.