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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 March, 2005, 07:45 GMT 08:45 UK
Outspoken Chinese professor fired
By Louisa Lim
BBC News, Beijing

A man looks at antique shop near a reproduction of a propaganda poster from Cultural Revolution era with Chinese characters read 'Maoism Propaganda Corps " Thursday March 10, 2005 in Shanghai, China.
Mr Jiao said the situation was no different than it was under Mao
An outspoken Chinese academic has been sacked after writing a savage attack on the Communist Party's propaganda department.

It is the latest salvo in what some see as a campaign tightening freedom of expression in China.

Jiao Guobiao had been a journalism professor at Beijing University.

But last year, the outspoken scholar wrote an astonishingly bold paper, attacking the Communist Party's propaganda department.

He accused it of sheltering corrupt officials and compared the state censors to those in Nazi Germany.

In a BBC interview last month, he said the state was continuing to muzzle the media very effectively.

"From the point of view of control over the press, there's been no change at all," he said.

"If there's a new story that you're not allowed to report, media simply won't report it. This type of decree hasn't changed since the time of Chairman Mao."

Now, he has been sacked from his post, though university officials say he chose to leave in order to study for six months in the US.

Blacklisted

It is not the first action against him.

Publishing houses have already been banned from printing his books, and he was included in a blacklist of intellectuals forbidden from appearing in the media.

At the same time, the authorities have closed down popular internet bulletin boards in universities and fired several well-known journalists.

Many intellectuals had hoped China's leader, Hu Jintao, would be more liberal than his predecessor. Now they fear a new cycle of repression is under way.





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