To the Editors:
Readers may be interested to know of a statement signed by more than one hundred leading Chinese intellectuals, and now posted in full on The New York Review Web site, www.nybooks.com, protesting the shutdown of China’s most important Internet forum for independent news and opinion. For six years, “Century China” (www.cc. org.cn) was the country’s most liberal and influential marketplace of ideas and information otherwise extremely difficult to obtain in China. Charging, without elaboration, that the site “illegally provides Internet news without proper qualifications,” the Chinese government shut it down on July 25.
The protest statement cites the ideals of Century China to be “free, independent, democratic, tolerant, and rational.” Closing of the Web site, according to the statement, “violates the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as China’s Constitution.” The statement calls upon the Chinese authorities to “publicize the evidence they have that warrants the closure,” as they are required to do by Chinese law. The petitioners, who include a broad cross-section of China’s most courageous rights activists, say that their own stance is one of “unyielding protest against the government’s abuse of power.”
Associate Professor of History
US Naval Academy
Professor of East Asian Studies
Princeton, New Jersey