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China Suppresses Free Info Flow


China has made great economic advances in recent years. Yet the Chinese government continues to deny China's citizens the right to freedom of expression. In just the latest instance, Chinese authorities ordered all China-based websites and blogs to register or be closed down. "Blog" is short for "weblog," which is a personal journal posted on the Internet.

According to the free press advocacy group Reporters Without Borders, many bloggers in China received e-mail messages in May telling them to register with the government to avoid having their blogs declared illegal. "Those who continue to publish under their real names on sites hosted in China," said Reporters Without Borders, "will either have to avoid political subjects or just relay the Communist Party's propaganda."

After sixteen years, the Chinese government is also still refusing to give a full accounting of the suppression of the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The human rights advocacy group Amnesty International says the Chinese government has not released figures for the number of activists who have been in prison since 1989.

Mark Allison is a researcher with Amnesty International. He says the Chinese government continues to quash any effort to demand a public accounting of the Tiananmen episode:

"We are seeing, now, people being arrested for doing nothing more than calling for an investigation, or for redress for the victims."

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack has also called on the Chinese government to provide a full accounting for the thousands of people killed, jailed, or missing in connection with the suppression of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. Mr. McCormack says the Chinese government should release protestors still unjustly imprisoned. "It is now time", he says, "for the Chinese government to move forward with a reexamination of Tiananmen, and give its citizens the ability to flourish by allowing them to think, speak, assemble and worship freely."

The U.S., says spokesman McCormack, will "continue to urge China to bring its human rights practices into conformity with international standards and law."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.

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