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China Shuts Down Three 'Leftist' Web Sites

China Shuts Down Three 'Leftist' Web Sites

Associated Press

China's communist government has shut down three Web sites that called themselves leftist and aired grievances from jobless workers and the poor, according to a news report Wednesday and two of the sites.

The Beijing city government ordered operators of the sites — titled "Communist," "Chinese Workers" and "Workers, Peasants and Soldiers BBS" — to close by Wednesday or face unspecified punishment, the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao said.

The closure came amid a government crackdown aimed at tightening control over news media, Web sites and other information sources.
Ming Pao quoted the unidentified operator of one site as saying it was set up to "give a voice to the poor, the weak and ordinary people, and to spread the influence of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism."

Beijing closely watches Internet use and bars most political speech online, whether it is considered to be from the left or the right.

Notices on two of the sites — "Communist" and "Chinese Workers" — said they were closed at the request of the Beijing municipal Information Office.

The office said the three Web sites failed to apply for permits required for sites that discuss political issues and opinions, Ming Pao said.

It said political sites are also required to have funds of at least 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million; euro1 million).

Phone calls to the Beijing city government information office on Wednesday afternoon weren't answered.

China's government operates what is widely regarded as the world's most sweeping effort to monitor and control Internet use, with all online traffic passing through state-controlled gateways.

Filters block access to foreign Web sites deemed subversive or pornographic, and Web sites in China are required to remove prohibited content.