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A Letter of Appeal to Chinese Intellectuals All Over the World

(Aug. 02, 2006)

For many days since July 25, 2006, Chinese intellectuals and other netizens have been living in misery because the website that had been their spiritual home for six years, Century China (www.cc.org.cn), was shut down by the Chinese authorities.

On July 19, the Communication Administration Bureau of Beijing issued a " Notice to shut down Century China" (No. 2006-242) which stated that the website “illegally provides Internet news without proper qualifications” and “it has violated the ' Regulations of Internet News Service' and Article 19 of ‘Regulations of Internet Information Service.’ Therefore, Century China website and its chat forum Century Salon shall be shut down immediately.”

Throughout history oppressive governments worldwide have suppressed freedom of speech, but in today’s world, this kind type suppression is becoming increasingly intolerable. The shutdown of Century China is just another instance of the Chinese government suppressing the freedom of its people. Therefore we must stage a focused and unyielding protest against the government’s abuse of power.

Since its launch on July 20, 2000, Century China became one of the most influential non-governmental websites in Mainland China. Strictly observing its doctrine to be "free, independent, democratic, tolerant and rational," it attracted many prominent Chinese intellectuals within China and abroad. The website made a unique contribution to promoting China’s freedom of speech, political and social liberalization, and served as a communication forum for Chinese people worldwide.

In predicating the fate of his website, the editor-in-chief of Century China wrote a letter just before its was shut down. “Ever since its establishment,” he wrote, “our website has aimed to construct a cyber world where rationality and freedom of speech reign. For six years, we made great efforts to attain this goal, because we believe that such a public space is beneficial to developing equality, freedom, rationality and other crucial factors for modern society, and that we could do our part to accelerate China’s academic advancement and cultural development.”

In this Century China’s cyber world, we gradually mastered the tactics of “perseverance in compromise and compromise in perseverance.” The more we come to understand the value of freedom of speech and thought, the quicker we realize that in today’s political environment we must not only to promote freedom of speech, but also explain, research, and fight for the civil and political rights granted by our own constitution. We must strive to defeat the existing social system while compromising and working within it. Our aim is to expand freedom of speech and to promote social advancement little by little.

This responsibility does not only belong to certain individuals, but to the entire society.

To respect and safeguard the freedom of speech, we are looking to reach a mutual understanding with government administrative departments that have the noble responsibility to implement the spirit of the Constitution. Even if this cannot happen right now, we hope to draft some basic rules for consideration where open and rational dialogues would be held to solve this problem. The result of peaceful dialogue would positively expand the personal freedoms of the people.

The public space that was created by Century China represents the hope of all Chinese, at home and abroad--for freedom, constitutional democracy and social liberalization. The shutdown of Century China is the destruction of the one spiritual home we had in the cyber world. By destroying this platform that connects the government and the people, and intellectuals at home and abroad, Chinese scholars are further ostracized from their homeland.
People cannot live without the freedom of speech, and suppressing this freedom violates the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as China’s constitution.

Today, the international community has agreed that governments must respect and safeguard the freedom of speech, which includes the Internet. Consequently, censorship of the Internet breaks international laws and norms.

Though it was able to force the closing of Century China, the government can never eliminate the people’s desire for freedom of speech nor can it censor the Internet outside of China.

The shutdown of Century China has attracted worldwide criticism both in China and abroad. The government and its administrative departments can no longer turn a deaf ear, because it is their responsibility to uphold the dignity of the Constitution by implementing each and every article.

Hence, for the purpose of promoting the rule of law in China, we once again state that the communication administration departments in Beijing have violated the Article 35 of the Constitution. On the basis of Article 41, we implore the administrative departments to publicize the evidence they have that warrant the closure of Century China.

We appeal for the support of all Chinese intellectuals at home and abroad!

This letter of appeal is sent to you for your signature. Please sign your real name. You may put your alias or penname behind your real name in brackets if necessary.
Signature page : signatures network
Signatures Box : [email protected]

List of initiators:

Liu Xiaobo (Beijing, freelance writer)
Liu Junning (Beijing, political theorist)
Zhang Zuhua (Beijing, political theorist)
Ding Zilin (Beijing, Professor)
Jiang Peikun (Beijing, Professor)
Bao Zunxin(Beijing, Historian)
Yu Jie (Beijing, Writer)
Laio Yiwu (Beijing, Writer)
Li Datong (Beijing, Journalist)
Wu Si (Beijing, Historian)
Sun Wenguang (Ji Nan, Professor)
Wang Zhijing (Beijing, freelance writer)
Wu Wei (Guangdong, internet editor)
Xu Xiao (Beijing, writer)
Liang Xiaoyan (Beijing, editor)
Pu Zhiqiang (Beijing, Lawyer)
Hao Jian (Beijing, Professor)
Li Jianqiang (Qingdao, Lawyer)
Zhao Dagong (Shenzhen, Freelance writer)
Yu Shicun (Beijing, writer)
Liu Di (Beijing, Freelance writer)
Zan Aizong (Zhejiang, Journalist)
Wen Kejian (Zhejiang, Freelance writer)
Lin Hui (Zhejiang, Freelance writer)
Zhu Jianguo (Shenzhen, Freelance writer)
Gao Yu(beijing, Journalist)
Hu Jia(beijing, Aids-worker)
Wan Yanhai((beijing, Aids-worker)
Wang Lixiong(Beijing, writer)
Wei Se(Lasha, writer)
Teng Biao(Beijing, Lawyer)
Yu Meisun(Beijing, Freelance writer)
Yu Zhijian(Hunan, Freelance writer)
He Weifang(Beijing, Professor)
Chen Xiaoya(Beijing, Historian)
Liu anping(Guangzhou, doctors)
Yuan xinting(Guangzhou, Editor)
Qin geng (Hainan, Freelance Writer)
Li jian(Dalian, Human rights defender)
deng huaming(Guangzhou, lawyers)
Tang Jingling (Guangzhou, Legal Counsel)
Tangcong (Guangzhou, journalist)
Huangweilong (Guangzhou, Freelance Writer)
Zhao cheng (Shanxi, academics)
Qi yanchen (Hebei, Freelance Writer)
Yang hengjun (Guangzhou, businessman)
Wang xinli (Nanjing, writer)
Du daobin(Hubei, Freelance Writer)
Liu ning(Beijing, Freelance Writer)
Wang Yi(Chengdu, scholars)
Guoxiaolin( Beijing, writer )
Xieyong (Taiyuan, editor )
Han Sum (Guizhou, writer)
Hu fayun (Wuhan, writer)
Zhang dajun (Beijing ,scholars)
Young zaixin (Guangxi, lawyers)
li heping (Beijing, lawyer)

Zhengyi (USA, writer)
Wangdan(USA,PhD Candidate, History)
wu er kai xi(Taiwan ,Political commentator )
Zhangheci (Australia, Freelance Writer)
Wanzi (Sweden, writer)
Zhangyu (Sweden, researcher)
Cai Yongmei(HK,Magzine Editor)
Huping (USA,scholar)
Yiping (USA,scholar)
Caichu(USA, editors)
Huangheqing (Spain, Freelance Writer)
Jingwa (USA, poet)
Wangyiliang (USA, poet)
Yanglian (English, poet)
Youyou (English, novelist / teacher)
Menglang (USA, writer)
Chengyinghong (USA, historian)
Guoluoji (USA, researchers)
Wuyimao (USA, writer)
Liaotianqi (USA,editors)
Chenkuide (USA, scholar)
Zhangweiguo (USA, Journalist)
Lixiaorong (French, scholar)
Sunjingwu (Japan, Freelance Writer)
Wangjuntao (USA, political scientist)
Wlaodaiwei (Australia, Freelance Writer)
Amu(Australia, Freelance Writer)
Asen(Australia, Freelance Writer)
Jjianshaohui(Australia, Freelance Writer)
Qijiazhen(Australia, Freelance Writer)
qiu Xiaoyulan(USA University Staff)
huang xiang(USA, writer)
hong zhesheng(USA, networks editors)
feng chongyi (Australia ,Professor)
Zhanglun (French, scholar)
zhang guangda (French, scholar)
He Qinglian(USA,scholar)
lin baohua( Taiwan, political and economic commentator )
wu er kai xi(Taiwan, Political commentator)
Harry Wu(USA,Publisher)
Zhang LangLang(USA, writer )
Wei shi(USA, Editor)
Chen shizhong(Sweden, retired professor)
Thomas. Victoria Gallant (German jurist)
Silvia. Dasidisi (Canadian diplomat)

Translated by Guancha.org (boxun.com)

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