Wed, Oct 05, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Beijing shuts down two Web sites in crackdown

AP , BEIJING

Chinese authorities have shut down an online discussion forum that reported on anti-corruption protests in a village in the south as well as a Web site serving ethnic Mongolians, overseas monitors said yesterday.

China routinely shuts down or blocks Web sites that operate outside of government control, but the issue has received heightened international attention recently with the publication of new rules aimed at stifling online dissent.

Radio Free Asia, a US-based broadcaster, said an online forum that covered protests in the village of Taishi has been closed. It said the site had been popular among academics, journalists and rights activists.

Residents of Taishi, which is near Guangzhou, have demanded their village chief be sacked and investigated for allegations of embezzlement and fraud.

Several people were reportedly injured in a clash with police last month when they tried to prevent police from seizing accounting ledgers that they said contained evidence of corruption.

The Taishi protest came amid a series of increasingly bold actions by villagers to bring attention to grievances ranging from pollution to illegal land seizures.

Meanwhile, the Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders said an online forum for Mongolian students, called www.ehoron.com, had been closed for allegedly hosting separatist content. Attempts yesterday to view the page called up a message that said: "You are not authorized to view this page."

The press group said Beijing's controls on ethnic minorities were more restrictive than for the rest of China's population.

It said the government also temporarily closed the Web site of a law firm in Inner Mongolia, called www.monhgal.com. That site could be accessed yesterday.

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