Chinese intellectuals protest internet censorship
A group of Chinese and overseas intellectuals sign an open letter to protest the shut down of Century China, considered the most influential internet portal for intellectual exchange between China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. They fear closure will isolate Chinese intellectuals.

Beijing (AsiaNews/SCMP) – A group of mainland and overseas intellectuals has protested against the closure of a popular mainland website, saying they fear the move will isolate China's intellectuals. In an open letter, the 103 intellectuals—mainly scholars, writers and lawyers—have called for a signature drive to press for internet freedom in China.

In they letter, they warn that shutting down the Century China website last week destroyed the "last online homeland for mainland intellectuals".

It went further complaining that this "not only has shut down an excellent interactive platform between the government and the public, [but] has also blocked the channel between overseas and mainland Chinese . . . and spiritually exiled the mainland's intellectual sector".

Century China, which hosted eight online forums, was widely regarded as an influential portal for intellectual exchange on the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong since its establishment six years ago.

"Chinese all around the world have placed their hope for freedom, democracy and a constitutional government in such an intellectual public space," the intellectuals added.

The website was forced to shut down after it received a notice from the Beijing Communications Administration on July 25 accusing it of "illegally providing news information and violating internet regulations".

The group urged the authorities to provide evidence and allow the operators to defend themselves according to regulations.

Li Datong, the former editor of China Youth Daily's Bingdian supplement, law professor He Weifang, Tiananmen mother Ding Zilin and exiled Tiananmen student leader Wang Dan are among the intellectuals who started the campaign.

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