Democracy website to get its 49th relaunch
A co-founder of the Democracy and Freedom discussion forum said yesterday he was prepared to relaunch the mainland-based website after central authorities shut it down for the 48th time on Sunday.
Wu Wei, also webmaster of the forum, said he was used to having the site closed down because it published what the government called 'sensitive material'. The only surprise this time was that the Communist Party's Publicity Department, rather than the local police bureau, ordered the closure.
'I'm very angry because this is the first time the Publicity Department has ordered closure,' Mr Wu said from his home in Guangzhou. 'This is illegal. As a party organ, the department has no legal right to do that.'
The recent shutdown came two days after the site published a textbook on democracy. In it, mainland writer Liu Junning said the purpose of his online book was to promote the globalisation of democracy, of which China would eventually become a part. It explained what democracy was, its structure and how the public could participate in it.
'This is very fundamental knowledge, something that Hong Kong people could easily obtain,' Mr Wu said. 'But they won't allow for the distribution of such information on the mainland. This is a restriction of basic information.'
Mr Wu, a 36-year-old former university lecturer, started the Democracy and Freedom discussion forum in June 2001 with two former PhD students, Huang Nu and Dai Chunlai .
Since its inception, the website has been shut down 48 times and has relaunched each time with a different web address.
It carries debates on current events, criticisms of the government, publication of banned books and texts on historical events.