Censorship of publications intensifies

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 December, 1998, 12:00am

Beijing has intensified media censorship, issuing a new order to take publications to court if they print 'subversive' articles that advocate 'splitting the country' or 'overthrowing the state'.

A senior editor of a state publication said the new measure, immediately effective today, was aimed at banning publication of sensitive articles related to debates on constitutional or political reforms, as well as Taiwan and ethnic minority issues.

The order, in the form of a judicial interpretation, said: 'From December 23 onwards, any publications printing, circulating or spreading articles which provoke splitting the country, damaging national unity, advocate the overthrow of the state or toppling the socialist system, will be charged for advocating to split the country or to subvert the state.' Although it is not a law or regulation, a judicial interpretation carries legal binding effects.

The editor said: 'Since there are no clear guidelines on whether an article is engaging in academic discussion or provoking challenge to the existing structure, the new measure will end up intimidating editors.'