China shuts Maoist websites amid political scandal

Apr 7, 2012, 3:33 AM

BEIJING (AP) – Chinese authorities have ordered a leading pro-Maoist website shut down for one month because of critical essays posted on it, the site’s founder said, amid the country’s worst high-level political crisis in years.

The move comes after the firing of a once high-flying official who promoted Mao Zedong-era songs and stories.

Han Deqiang, founder of the leftist website Utopia, said police ordered that it be shut down because of content that criticized the Communist Party, its leaders and an upcoming party congress. The shutdown took effect Friday.

“I expected this to happen. If they want to shut us down, it is their right. We exercise our right to express ourselves, they exercise their right,” Han said in a telephone interview.

Han is a vocal supporter of recently ousted Chongqing city Communist Party chief Bo Xilai, who strongly pushed a “Red Culture” campaign. The removal of Bo, considered a contender for a top job only months ago, was widely seen as a sign of divisive infighting.

Another prominent pro-Maoist website, Maoflag.net, also appeared to be shut down. The move appears to be part of wider censorship aimed at stifling discussion of Bo’s downfall, the highest-level political sacking in years.

Bo’s dismissal is yet to be fully explained and came after a top aide fled temporarily to a U.S. consulate, apparently to seek asylum and in violation of party rules. It also came as the senior leadership is gearing up for a handover of power to a younger generation of leaders in the fall, always a period of intense political bargaining.

Websites such as Utopia oppose privatization of the economy and other Western-style reforms, and have sometimes been critical of China’s current leadership.

They also promote the achievements of Mao, who led a bloody two-decade revolution that ended with the establishment of Communist China in 1949 and held power until his death in 1976. His policies plunged the nation into years of famine and led to the deaths of tens of millions.

China has sought to control political discourse following a flurry of rumors online about Bo’s downfall, with authorities closing a dozen websites and detaining six people for circulating rumors of a coup that rattled Beijing.

In a further sign of such concerns, a military newspaper urged troops to ignore rumors and remain loyal to the Communist Party. The People’s Liberation Army Daily said Friday in an editorial that troops should “resolutely resist the incursion of all kinds of erroneous thoughts, not be disturbed by noises, not be affected by rumors, not be pushed by any undercurrent.”

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)...
Associated Press

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.
1 month ago
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his ...
Associated Press

Rishi Sunak: UK’s ex-Treasury chief gets his shot at PM job

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Then he got another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” The former U.K. Treasury chief was runner-up to Liz Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister. But Truss […]
3 months ago
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss addresses the media in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Oct. ...
Associated Press

Truss quits, but UK’s political and economic turmoil persist

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit Thursday after a tumultuous and historically brief term marred by economic policies that roiled financial markets and a rebellion in her political party that obliterated her authority. After just 45 days in office, Truss became the third Conservative prime minister to be toppled in as many […]
3 months ago
People receive medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 1...
Associated Press

Russia unleashes biggest attacks in Ukraine in months

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia retaliated Monday for an attack on a critical bridge by unleashing its most widespread strikes against Ukraine in months, a lethal barrage that smashed civilian targets, knocked out power and water, shattered buildings and killed at least 14 people. Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the […]
4 months ago
This illustration made available by Johns Hopkins APL and NASA depicts NASA's DART probe, upper rig...
Associated Press

NASA spacecraft smashes into asteroid for defense test

A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth.
4 months ago
Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend, according to a tally Thursday by The Associated Press. The scope of Iran’s ongoing unrest, the worst in […]
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
China shuts Maoist websites amid political scandal