China Cracks Down On
Internet Dissent - Shuts
Down Popular Forum
BEIJING (AP) -- Less than five days after Chinese authorities singled it out for criticism, a popular Internet bulletin board has been shut down, a human rights group reported Friday.
The bulletin board service, "Everything Under the Sun" -- on a Web page run by a Chinese computer software company -- drew 60,000 messages in December and January, the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said.
Message writers had become increasingly bold, even discussing the 10th anniversary of the military's violent quelling of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement on June 4, the group said.
The movement and its crushing are among the most sensitive political topics in China. Communist Party leaders have never provided a credible accounting of the dead and injured, nor allowed an investigation into the ordering of the crackdown.
On Jan. 27, the newspaper run by China's top prosecutor's office criticized bulletin board services like "Everything Under the Sun" for attacking government policies and leaders, the Information Center said.
By Feb. 1, the bulletin board, on the "New Wave" Web page run by Stone Rich Sight Information Tech. Co. Ltd. had been shut down, the Information Center said.
"New Wave is currently testing the forum and service has been temporarily stopped for a portion of the forum," a company notice on the bulletin board said Friday. It added that people could still post messages on a related service, a cultural forum sponsored by the official Beijing Evening News.
Chinese leaders have shown ambivalence about the Internet, wanting to harness it for business and education while remaining wary of its power for spreading dissent.
The attack on bulletin board services came amid a tightening of government controls on the Internet.
A police directive issued last month ordered police precincts nationwide to set up special task forces to monitor bulletin board services and shut down those with seditious messages, the Information Center has said.