Chinese censorship slammed…by ex-Communist Party bigwigs

Most people would agree that China’s approach to media censorship is heavy-handed and totalitarian. But I’d have never expected that sort of criticism coming from former big players in Mao Zedong’s Communist Party. From the BBC article:

In an open letter, the group denounced the recent closure of investigative newspaper Bingdian (Freezing Point).

They said strict censorship may “sow the seeds of disaster” for China’s political transition.

Among the signatories are an ex-aide to Mao Zedong, a former newspaper editor and a former party propaganda chief.

“History demonstrates that only a totalitarian system needs news censorship, out of the delusion that it can keep the public locked in ignorance,” the group said in the letter, according to Reuters news agency.

2006 is really shaping up to be the year of the weird…is this some sort of media stunt in itself, or a genuine change of heart on the part of the ex-Communists? And the timing is interesting; according to the BBC article, the letter was signed nearly two weeks ago. Maybe the late release is connected to a certain freedom-of-speech issue that is causing a rather inflated and media-fanned conflagration elsewhere in the world? We shall have to wait and see.

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