China: CPJ condemns closure of popular Web sites

New York, August 2, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled by Beijing authorities’ recent order to shut two popular online forums that featured commentary on social and political issues. The Century China Web sites have been closed since last week, according to international and local news reports.

The Communications Administration in Beijing ordered Century China to shut down the sites for “illegally providing news information and violating Internet regulations,” local media reported. The Web sites were shuttered on July 26, the day after the order was issued. More than 100 Chinese intellectuals issued a statement today condemning the government order, according to international news reports.

Century China was set up by the Beijing Zhongqing Future Community Culture Development Research Institute and the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Institute of Chinese Studies in 2000, according to South China Morning Post.

“This is another alarming reminder of China’s determination to control the Internet and throttle the flow of news and opinion,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “We call on Chinese authorities to allow Century China’s Web sites to reopen immediately and unconditionally.”