Here we publish a statement of one of the administrators of the China Workers' Website on the recent closing of their site.
First I'd like to tell a truth. It was on February 22nd, 2006 that the China Workers’ Website (www.zggr.org), which was founded in Beijing only one year ago, was ordered shut down by the Department of Management of Internet Propaganda of the Beijing News Office. The so-called law of Regulation of Internet News and Information Service, which was published at the end of 2005, was used to shut down the Workers’ Website, which had been legally registered (Beijing ICP No.05004935).
Let's not to talk about what the Department of Management of Internet Propaganda of Beijing News Office is, and whether it has the right to order the Workers’ Net to do anything. The shutting down of the site is absurd, and what is even more, annoying.
The Regulation of Internet News and Information services says that websites such as The Chinese Workers’ Net are only allowed to operate when they have 10 million yuan ($1.2 million) in registered capital. In other words, you have to buy your voice with 10 million yuan!
Long ago, we learned from books that the democracy of the United States was narrow and hypocritical, while Chinese democracy was true and broad.
US style democracy is narrow because it is only a democracy for the minority, the democracy for the handful of the rich. I still remember the explanations of how the millionaires control Congress like a puppet. The best example of the hypocrisy of US democracy is when someone wants to be a representative – you must first register your fortune, and demonstrate that it is large enough to support your political future.
Our homemade democracy is great! It is true. It is broad! It is true because state law guarantees the political rights of citizens! It is true because the constitution of our state confirms the protection of the right to free speech and the freedom of the citizens to publish. Our democracy is broad, because our state embodies the people, and our people have the right to take part on the politics of the state.
These are the things we learned in books. But what do these things look like in reality? The right to buy your voice at 10 million yuan, is this the democracy of the People’s Republic? Is this right the truth of our democracy? Is this the embodiment of the spirit of the constitution in lawmaking and the execution of law? Is this the broadness of our democracy? May I ask: workers who want to speak, who want to write, who want to curse when they are suffering, how many of them have 10 million yuan? How many of them, who have so little money – money which was used to buy their length of service – have 10 million yuan? How many of them will have 10 million yuan to purchase the right to publish and speak out when they only make several hundred yuan a month – the minimum amount required to guarantee the basic necessities of life? And who could possibly save 10 million yaun when faced with the high cost of education, housing, and the even higher costs of medicine and health care?
The name of the regulation is regulation – it does not regulate but in essence it juggles and restricts the voice of the people, neglecting the civil rights to free speech and to publish, which are guaranteed by the constitution. The regulation cruelly closes off the throat of the working class, silencing the last voice capable of groaning.
The Workers’ Net has been shut down in this action of brutal administration – but what will tomorrow bring? Will the violence done to the constitution be tolerated in this way?
What jumped out this time is a management department named Office of News. I doubt whether this department has the right to deal with things that have to do with the Internet. It is neither a cultural department, nor a police department. With the excuse that it was in violation of the regulation, it ordered the shutting down of the Workers’ Net – does this department now have the right to execute the law as well? The surprise this caused goes beyond words.