It was more than Liu Xiaobo's chair that was empty at Thursday's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. What was also on display to the world was China's lack of a new approach to media that goes beyond its decades-old approach of controlling through denial and suppression.
Today we released our annual census of imprisoned journalists around the world, citing 145 reporters, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of nine from 2009 figures. The tally begs the question, What's in a number?
Today, members of China's Communist Party Central Committee met in Beijing to open a three-day discussion on the country's next five-year development plan. And while they're unlikely to openly debate a recent letter by 23 senior Party members, which called for sweeping reforms of China's media censorship policies, it will certainly be in the air.
Twenty-three senior Communist Party members have published a letter calling for sweeping reforms of China's media censorship policies. "Our core demand is that the system of censorship be dismantled in favor of a system of legal responsibility," the letter said, according to an English translation by Hong Kong University's China Media Project. Widely distributed by e-mail and posted on the Sina news portal, the letter started appearing on Monday, according to news reports. Titled "Concerning the Current State of Freedom of Speech and Press in Our Country," the letter is signed in large part by retired party elders, many of whom held ranking positions in the media.
Twenty-one years after the Tiananmen Square crackdown, China’s censors are still working to purge public discourse about the tragic events of June 4, 1989. But some Chinese Web users clearly have a healthy appetite for such a debate and are willing to circumvent the government censors.
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Blog: Bob Dietz