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China Discouraged Writers from Attending Conference February 6, 2007

Posted by David in North-East Asia.

In a typical move, and yet another reason why China needs to be approached cautiously, the Communist Government recently “either banned or warned more than 20 Chinese writers from attending an international writers’ conference” which was held in Hong Kong, this past week-end.

According to a story published in the Taipei Times (06-02-2007), “fifteen Chinese writers attended the conference in Hong Kong but more than 20” did not. “Half the writers who did not go could not obtain travel documents, while the others decided not to come after being warned.”

“Gao Yu, a journalist banned from working in China,” said that although writers in China are currently facing a cold-front, “she was optimistic, however, that restrictions on freedom of speech will ease as economic growth continues.”

Economic growth does have benefits, huge benefits, but I doubt improved financial fortunes alone can make everything better. At one point the people of China will need to demand more freedom, and not just simply accept what is being handed down to them and branded as “good enough”.

The officials who held this conference want to organize another conference in a year’s time where “all Chinese writers can attend to discuss the China situation.”  It’s a worthwhile goal but they may be in for a bit of disappointment.

“Restrictions on the writers in mainland China to write, travel and associate freely” are bound to be maintained as long as the people don’t apply more pressure on China’s government to loosen the chains.



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