Now this is very interesting. And if true, it could signal a new openness in the Far East.

From the NY Times:

BEIJING, Feb. 14 â€â€? A dozen former Communist Party officials and senior scholars, including a onetime secretary to Mao, a party propaganda chief and the retired bosses of some of the country’s most powerful newspapers, have denounced the recent closing of a prominent news journal, helping to fuel a growing backlash against censorship.

A public letter issued by the prominent figures, dated Feb. 2 but circulated to journalists in Beijing on Tuesday, appeared to add momentum to a campaign by a few outspoken editors against micromanagement, personnel shuffles and an ever-expanding blacklist of banned topics imposed on China’s newspapers, magazines, television stations and Web sites by the party’s secretive Propaganda Department.

The letter criticized the department’s order on Jan. 24 to shut down Freezing Point, a popular journal of news and opinion, as an example of “malignant management” and an “abuse of power” that violates China’s constitutional guarantee of free speech.

The letter did not address Beijing’s pressure on Web portals and search engines.

Again, this doesn’t mean anything right now. Pressure from former officials probably holds as much water with the new guard as “China’s constitutional guarantee of free speech.” Free speech? Are you kidding me?

But still…any movement in this direction is a positive one and offers some hope that they could be starting to get their act together on free speech. Ultimately, who knows.

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