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, , 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 “ 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”.

March 15, 2006, 11:41 AM
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