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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Chinese rule-of-law website shut down

Internet CensorshipAccording to an AFP report Chinese Internet authorities have shut down a leading website campaigning for greater constitutional protections, in a further sign of a crackdown on web content.

The website of the Open Constitutional Initiative (OCI) run by Xu Zhiyong, a Beijing-based lawyer was closed on Sunday without warning. The site is a portal for Chinese intellectuals concerned with constitutional issues and protection of citizen rights.

Xu Zhiyong is the defence lawyer for three newspaper editors in custody for corruption allegations. Two have already been found guilty and given custodial sentences whilst the third is awaiting trial. Their case came to international prominence when human rights groups and Reporters Without Borders claimed they were being falsely accused as a payback for several news articles that Beijing found embarrassing including the high profile death in custody of a young student arrested on "vagrancy" type charges and SARS coverup allegations.

Another lawyer and group member Zhang Xingshui was quoted as saying

"It's hard to say why they shut us down, but you cannot rule out that it is because of the (newspaper editors) trial,"

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Yahoo! News - Chinese rule-of-law website shut down, lawyer says