Chinese Cyber-Gestapo ramps up Internet oppression

I was flying from HK to Singapore this morning when I saw the Asian Wall Street Journal headline: Beijing Cracks Down on Political Debate; authorities close Web sites, accuse foreigners of fueling discourse on banned topics.

The article (which I can’t link to) describes a new policy issued by the central committee of the CCP stating that those promoting politcal reforms are actually attacking the Communist Party leadership and China’s political system. This is one depressing article.

Now there’s another article “on the arrest of a 32-year-old Web “activist:

A Chinese dissident who expressed his views on Internet bulletin boards and chat rooms has been arrested on charges of conspiring to subvert the government, a U.S.-based human rights group has said.

The case of Li Zhi, a 32-year-old city government official, is the latest in a string of detentions and convictions of dissidents that critics said betray China’s stated pledge to promote the rule of law.

We are going to be hearing of a lot more stories like this in the coming weeks I suspect.

I remember how so many optimists pointed to the CCP’s sudden embrace of openness during the SARS crisis (when they had no choice) as proof of fundamental change, a move toward greater freedom and transparency. Ha.

So the next big question is, why the new crackdown, and who is behind it? Hu Jintao had positioned himself as being in favor of greater openess and a freer media. The AWSJ , quoted at the top, says many believe that Jiang Zemin is the instigator, “while others say the moves couldn’t have happened without Mr. Hu’s approval.”

The Discussion: 4 Comments

I can’t find any articles on this at all. That doesn’t mean I doubt you, but it does strike me as odd that the WSJ would carry a story like that but then not be on other outlets.

You sure it wasn’t old copy? There was a story just like this floating around a few months ago, not long after the sars thing started getting less publicity.

Anyway, it has to be Jiang doing it, with the (supplicated?) approval of Hu.

September 24, 2003 @ 12:39 pm | Comment

Today’s issue of AWSJ. Reporter is Kathy Chen. I’ll bet money John Pomfret picks it up within 48 hours. The CNN piece alludes to the recent “string of detentions and convictions” of those engaging in unharmonious political debate, language that also indicates a crackdown.

September 24, 2003 @ 1:19 pm | Comment

It appears a basic pattern is back now that the PR push is over, showcase punishment as a warning to others.

September 24, 2003 @ 3:36 pm | Comment


You say “Ha”. I’ll see your “Ha” and raise you one — “Ha, Ha”

September 25, 2003 @ 6:35 am | Comment

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