Freedom of speech finds new meaning in Wen’s world – Mure Dickie

From the Financial Times (link):

For a few moments during his annual press conference in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Wen Jiabao, Chinese premier and third-ranking member of the ruling Communist party, almost sounded like a pro-democracy liberal.

“A people’s government should accept the democratic supervision of the people . . . Only if a government is subject to the supervision of the people will it not dare to be indolent,” Mr Wen said. Every Chinese citizen enjoyed full “freedom of expression and publication”, he added.

Mr Wen’s rhetorical commitment to such rights does not signal any softening of Beijing’s efforts to root out political dissent from China’s media and fast-growing internet, however.

Challenged about the government’s expanding crackdown on independent-minded publications and websites, the mild-mannered premier paraphrased Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw’s dictum that “liberty means responsibility”.


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