The government continued its Internet crackdown over the weekend, ordering the shutting down of two political websites perceived to be critical of official policies.
The two sites — Mao Flag and Utopia — claimed through announcements, which were later removed, that officials told them to close for “rectification”. Authorities said their postings had “maliciously attacked state leaders” and given “absurd views” about politics, according to statements on the websites. Utopia was a supporter of the policies of the flamboyant but controversial Bo Xilai who was removed as Communist Party of China chief of Chongqing city in southwest China in March.
The crackdown began last week in what many saw as an indication that the party is uneasy about the change of leadership later this year. At least 16 other websites were shut down, six people were arrested and temporary curbs were put on two popular micro blog services that prevented users from posting comments.
In another development, China’s main military newspaper told soldiers Friday to ignore gossip on the internet and close ranks around the government. The Liberation Army Daily warned that the 10-yearly handover of power, which begins later this year, could threaten China’s stability. “This is a year of special significance to the party and to national development,” the mouthpiece of the state’s armed forces said in a front-page commentary. “History has shown that whenever the party and the country are facing a major event, the ideological struggle becomes complex, and factors affecting stability will increase.”