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China 31 March 2006

Chinese activists call for repeal of Internet “11 Commandments”

Reporters Without Borders today hailed the courage of the pro-democracy activists and lawyers who on 28 March dared to speak out publicly against violations of online free expression and launched a petition for the repeal of a six-month-old law that marked a much tougher government stance towards the Internet.

They also demanded the reopening of websites closed under the law, which Reporters Without Borders dubbed the “11 Commandments of the Internet” when it took effect on 25 September.

The petition says the law violates the Chinese constitution, in particular article 35 which “guarantees citizens free expression, press freedom, freedom of association and the freedom to demonstrate.” Under the constitution, Chinese Internet users should be able to express themselves on all subjects, including politics, the economy and social issues, it says.

Among the many websites closed since the law’s promulgation by the Council of State’s information bureau and the ministry of industry and information are the “Chinese workers’ site” (www.zggr.org), the site of the “communist partisans” (www.gcdr.com.cn), and the “forum of soldiers, workers and peasants (www.gcdr.com.cn/bbs).

The petition’s signatories include the people in charge of 11 websites or forums that have been the victims of censorship, and well-known Internet user Liu Di, who was jailed for a year in 2003 because of the messages she posted on online discussion forums under the pen name of “The Stainless Steel Mouse.”

To sign the petition (in Chinese): http://www.qian-ming.org/gb/default.aspx?dir=scp&cid=75

PDF - 48.8 kb
Press release in chinese

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