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Protest over Internet Crackdown for June 4th

June 5, 2003

For Immediate Release

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has received a copy of an open letter protesting the blocking of a Chinese Web site during the politically sensitive period around the June 4 anniversary.

The open letter was sent by Ren Bumei, operator of the Bumei Zhiye Web site (the open letter is appended in full to the Chinese press release). The Web site became inaccessible at 8 a.m. on June 4, and a related Web site was blocked already 15 days earlier. Bumei Zhiye was also blocked around the time of the 16th Party Congress and the 10th National People’s Congress.

Chinese authorities have not alleged that there was unlawful material on the Web site; rather, the blocking is seen as part of general suppressive measures taken by Chinese authorities against independent Web sites at a politically sensitive time.

Ren Bumei is one of China’s more influential Web site operators. Bumei Zhiye, which began operation in January 2001, was one of China’s largest Web sites at that time, and was the first venue to report and protest the disappearance of Liu Di, the college student known as “The Stainless Steel Mouse” who is now in police custody for opinions she posted on the Internet.

HRIC deplores the Chinese government’s continued suppression of free expression on the Internet. “The blocking of Bumei Zhiye, following close on the heels of the harsh sentences passed on Xu Wei and other Internet activists last week, demonstrates once again the Chinese government’s intolerance of free expression,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “The international community needs to step up pressure on the Chinese authorities to acknowledge this fundamental human right.”

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher (English) 212-268-9074
Liu Qing (Chinese) 212-239-4495