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"Three forbidden topics" in China
NEW YORK - In a report from Beijing, the Wall Street Journal said that Beijing announced the “three forbiddens” policy in August, outlawing online discussion of political reform, constitutional reform, and court appeals.
China watchers are quick to point out that the jargon of the third “forbidden” is intended to quell any discussion of the mass slaughter of student activists on Tiananmen Square in 1989.
The article pointed out that even after the ‘three forbiddens’ had been announced, there was still some discussion of these things going on.
Beijing had seen that it had been unable to reverse the trend of people discussing these topics, so it intensified suppression and state-propaganda organs began to generate commentary that ‘advocating political reform an attack on Chinese Communist Party leadership and the national political system’.
On September 9, Beijing ordered the closure of four websites: caosy.com, libertas2000.net, xianzheng.net and cc-forum.com.
These websites had allowed people to post articles related to political reform and constitutional revision.
One website was tied to economist Cao Siyuan, recently blacklisted for holding public discussion of constitutional reform. He is currently reported to be under constant surveillance.
The other two websites were tied to Liu Junning, a political scientist who had shown little fear of expressing his opinions on political reforms. At the end of the 1990s, he was fired from the Chinese Social Science Center.
Liu and Cao are both on Beijing’s blacklist and their views are banned.
The report also says that a file in the Communist Party Central Committee General Division accuses ‘opposing forces from outside’ of penetrating what Western observers have called the "Great Firewall of China" and encouraging the debate of political and constitutional reforms.
An inside source is quoted saying that the file warns China organizations to be extra careful when using foreign funding and cooperating with foreign counterparts.
Some observers initially thought that rivalry between Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin was behind the debate whether sensitive topics were open to debate or not. On further reflection however, they realized that the orders could not have been formalized without Hu Jintao’s express permission.
Many officials and citizens in China now wonder how genuine and open to political reforms the new regime of Hu Jintao truly is.
A political analyst in China summarized, “Hu has revealed his true face. If everyone was free to discuss reforms, he would feel that his authority might be subject to challenge.”
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