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China: Wave of online free expression violations since beginning of year

(RSF/IFEX) - There has been a wave of violations of online free expression since the start of the year, says Reporters Without Borders. A website covering corruption cases was shut down on 8 January 2007, the Sichuan authorities are continuing to enforce an Internet ban on Tibetan poet Woeser and the wife of Yang Maodong (Guo Feixiong), one of the 50 cyber-dissidents jailed in China, said on 12 January that he is being regularly tortured.

"The Internet is developing at breakneck speed in China but without any letup in censorship," Reporters Without Borders said. "Both in Beijing and the provinces, the authorities still crack down on those who discuss sensitive political issues online. We are particularly shocked at the report of Guo Feixiong being tortured in prison. China continues to be a police state that sees the Internet as something to be censored and controlled. This must be resisted."

A lawyer held since 14 September 2006, Guo Feixiong is officially charged with "illegal business activities" but the real reason for his detention is his human rights activity. He is a member of the writers' organisation, the Independent Chinese PEN, and regularly wrote for news websites. His wife, Zhang Qing, told Agence France-Presse he has been repeatedly tortured. She said he had been chained to a bed and beaten for 40 days in a row to make him confess.

The authorities are continuing to enforce an online publication ban on Tibetan writer and poet Woeser, whose blogs were shut down in July 2006. The police in the city of Mingyang, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, ordered a Tibetan website on 7 December to eliminate any reference to her writings.

Finally on 8 January, the police in Xiamen, in the southeastern province of Fujian, closed down , a website founded in 2003 that published news about corruption cases and monitored the activities of local authorities. The police said it published "bad information." One of its recent articles was headlined "Liaoning province committee secretary protects murky forces."

Date posted: January 12, 2007 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 9