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China shuts down outspoken Web site

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has shut down a Chinese magazine's outspoken Web site, apparently because of the reported killing of a villager trying to stop demolition of his home, the editor said on Thursday.

The online edition of the Baixing (People) Magazine, based in the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu, was closed on Wednesday, editor Huang Liantian told Reuters.

The Web site contained reports from overseas sites and also people's comments on the death of the villager reported to have been beaten to death by thugs after resisting government efforts to tear down his home.

The magazine had received several warnings about the reports, Huang said.

"They demanded we remove anything about the demolition, otherwise the Web site would be closed," Huang said by telephone.

"So now it is very likely the authorities just shut down the Web site without telling us," he said, adding that he had received no formal notice from the authorities.

Chinese peasants have fallen prey to increasing official abuses in recent years, particularly in land grabs as rapid urbanisation and industrialisation make real estate more valuable, resulting in ever more protests and riots.

China routinely monitors online Web sites, chat forums and bulletin boards for controversial political comment, censoring words they deem sensitive.

"I feel outraged about it, because what we do is just to provide a space for people to see the truth and to express their opinions, and now even such a place no longer exists," he said.

Early last month, dozens of Chinese writers and dissidents decried the closing of the Century China Web site, which they said was one of the few refuges for relatively unfettered views.

New York-based Human Rights Watch accused Western Internet companies last month of complicity with China's censors.

The report was the latest in a wave of criticism against Western Internet companies operating in China, which are accused of compromising their principles by censoring searches and blog titles and blocking politically sensitive terms in order to do business in the world's number-two Internet market.

Date posted: September 7, 2006 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 17