BEIJING Jan 4 China shut the website of a
leading pro-reform magazine on Friday, apparently because it ran
an article calling for political reform and constitutional
government, sensitive topics for the ruling Communist Party
which brooks no dissent.
"Yanhuang Chunqiu" (China Through the Ages) is an
influential Beijing magazine that features essays from reformist
In a message posted on its official Sina Weibo microblog,
the magazine said that it had been informed on Thursday that the
site's registration had been cancelled and that it had not been
given a reason.
"The magazine is trying to find out details," it said.
Wu Si, the magazine's chief editor, did not answer calls
Attempts to open the website (www.yhcqw.com) bring up a
cartoon picture of a policemen holding up a badge and the
message that the site has been closed.
However, the article which seems to have offended the
censors, written in the form of a new year's message, is still
up on the magazine's microblog.
"In more than 30 years of reform, the abuses caused by
political reform lagging economic reform have become daily more
visible, and the factors for social instability have gradually
accumulated. Promoting reform of the political system is an
urgent task," the piece says.
Analysts have been searching for signs that China's new
leaders might steer a path of political reform, whether by
allowing freer expression on the internet, greater
experimentation with grassroots democracy or releasing jailed
But the party, which tolerates no challenge to its rule and
values stability above all else, has so far shown little sign of
wanting to go down this path, despite president-in-waiting and
party chief Xi Jinping trying to project a softer and more open
image than his predecessor.
Weibo users flocked to offer their support for the magazine
and to excoriate Xi.
"People who are putting their hopes in Xi need to wake up,"
Xi, who became party boss in November, takes over from Hu
Jintao as president at the annual meeting of parliament in
March, part of a generational leadership change.
Last month, a prominent group of Chinese academics warned in
a bold open letter that the country risks "violent revolution"
if the government does not respond to public pressure and allow
long-stalled political reforms.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)