group of 23 Communist Party elders in China has written a letter calling for an
end to the country’s restrictions on freedom of speech.
letter says freedom of expression is promised in the Chinese constitution but
not allowed in practice.
want people to be able to freely express themselves on the internet and want
more respect for journalists.
call comes just days after the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded this
year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Liu was sent to prison for 11 years in 2009 for expressing his desire to see
peaceful political change in China.
letter’s release also comes ahead of a key party meeting that is expected to
promote future leaders and shape policy for the next few years.
authors of the letter describe China’s current censorship system as a scandal
and an embarrassment.
Eight demands for change
system where media organisations are all tied to higher authorities
journalists, accept their social status
ban on cross-province supervision by public opinion
cyber-police; control Web administrators’ ability to delete/post items at will
citizens’ right to know crimes and mistakes committed by ruling party
pilot projects to support citizen-owned media organisations
media and publications from Hong Kong and Macau to be openly distributed
the mission of propaganda authorities, from preventing the leak of information
to facilitating its accurate and timely spread
who signed the letter were once influential officials.
include a former personal secretary to the revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, and
a former editor of the People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper.