Economics newsletter ordered to shut down

JULY 4, 2007
Posted July 17, 2007

China Development Brief

Beijing authorities ordered publishers of the Chinese edition of China Development Brief to cease publication, and they barred employees from maintaining the newsletter’s English language Web site, according to its British founder and editor, Nick Young. China Development Brief, a monthly founded in 1996, focuses on China’s economic development, including environment, labor, and health issues. China Development Brief appears in electronic and print versions in English and Chinese

According to a July 12 message Young posted on the publication’s Web site, a dozen city officials came to China Development Brief’s Beijing office on July 4 and interrogated employees for three hours. The editor said police ordered China Development Brief to cease publishing Chinese editions of its newsletters.

Young reported that police told him he had conducted “unauthorized surveys” in violation of a 1983 law. He told The Associated Press that China Development Brief has not undertaken surveys or polls and that the regulation as explained to him by the police, prohibits “any kind of investigation … even going out and talking to people.”

Young told AP that China Development Brief’s Web site is hosted by a server based in the United Kingdom. But Chinese officials told him that efforts to post news and information on the Web site were illegal. Young wrote on the China Development Brief Web site: “It was made perfectly clear to me that any report posted on this Web site … would count as the output of an unauthorized survey.”

Young told The New York Times that authorities had not complained about China Development Brief’s operations before and did not provide specific reasons for shutting it down. AP said Chinese officials did not respond to its requests for comments.