Chines government shuts down Internet forum

China shuts down popular Internet forum 

February 5, 1999
Web posted at: 10:57 a.m. EST (1557 GMT) 

BEIJING (AP) -- Less than five days after Chinese authorities singled it out
for criticism, a popular Internet bulletin board has been shut down, a human
rights group reported Friday. 

The bulletin board service, "Everything Under the Sun" -- on a Web page
run by a Chinese computer software company -- drew 60,000 messages in
December and January, the Hong Kong-based Information Center of
Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said. 

Message writers had become increasingly bold, even discussing the 10th
anniversary of the military's violent quelling of the Tiananmen Square
democracy movement on June 4, the group said. 

The movement and its crushing are among the most sensitive political topics
in China. Communist Party leaders have never provided a credible
accounting of the dead and injured, nor allowed an investigation into the
ordering of the crackdown. 

On Jan. 27, the newspaper run by China's top prosecutor's office criticized
bulletin board services like "Everything Under the Sun" for attacking
government policies and leaders, the Information Center said. 

By Feb. 1, the bulletin board, on the "New Wave" Web page run by Stone
Rich Sight Information Tech. Co. Ltd. had been shut down, the Information
Center said. 

"New Wave is currently testing the forum and service has been temporarily
stopped for a portion of the forum," a company notice on the bulletin board
said Friday. It added that people could still post messages on a related
service, a cultural forum sponsored by the official Beijing Evening News. 

Chinese leaders have shown ambivalence about the Internet, wanting to
harness it for business and education while remaining wary of its power for
spreading dissent. 

The attack on bulletin board services came amid a tightening of government
controls on the Internet. 

A police directive issued last month ordered police precincts nationwide to
set up special task forces to monitor bulletin board services and shut down
those with seditious messages, the Information Center has said. 

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