Friday, October 15, 2010

Communist party elders call for ending censorship in China

By Tom Lasseter, McClatchy Newspapers, Oct 13, 2010

BEIJING — Almost two dozen former Chinese Communist Party officials and academics have signed a petition demanding that government censorship in China be dismantled in favor of the freedom-of-speech rights enshrined in the national constitution.

The open Internet letter surfaced just days after jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize and shortly before the ruling Communist Party’s central committee convenes for meetings that some observers expect to include discussion of political reform.

“We hope they will take action,” said Zhong Peizhang, a signatory who headed the news bureau of the government’s Central Propaganda Department from 1982 to 1986. “As it says in the letter: to cancel censorship in favor of a system of legal responsibility.”

Speaking of the years since he was in the propaganda department, Zhong said, “I had hoped there would be some progress in terms of freedom of speech.”

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