Hu Jiwei, former editor-in-chief of People’s Daily
We all saw this one coming: an open letter written by CCP elders calling for more freedom of speech in China is being rapidly censored from the Chinese internet. Chinese Twitter users report that copies of the letter have been removed in the past 24 hours at a frightening pace.
The irony of the situation is lost on nobody, and comes as no surprise considering the many other high-profile news items already censored this month. The letter’s release has undoubtedly been timed to coincide with the Communist party meeting scheduled later this week, where party officials are expected to review the next five year plan and possibly make moves to indicate future party succession.
This makes the participation in the letter by important party elders such as Mao Zedong’s former secretary Li Rui (李锐) and former People’s Daily editor-in-chief Hu Jiwei (胡绩伟) even more volatile and subject to suppression by state-controlled media.
Interviews with sponsors of the letter reveal their devotion to freedom of the press and concern for the safety of journalists and investigative reporters. Many site the recent injustices faced by investigative reporter Xie Chaoping, who was arrested after publishing a book on forced migration to make way for a water project. Sponsor Tie Liu had this to say: “These veteran media professionals have not been able to speak their minds for so long that they all felt bottled up and frustrated…The situation with the press is in must change.”