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Leftist website ordered offline

Date

Philip Wen

Authorities said that Han Deqiang's website "violated the constitution, maliciously attacked state leaders and speculated wildly."

Authorities said that Han Deqiang's website "violated the constitution, maliciously attacked state leaders and speculated wildly." Photo: AP

BEIJING: The fallout from the political crisis surrounding the leading leftist Bo Xilai continues to spread, with the flagship website of the resurgent movement he championed, Utopia, ordered offline.

Authorities said the website had published articles that ''violated the constitution, maliciously attacked state leaders, and speculated wildly'' about the country's leadership.

They yesterday ordered Utopia to undergo a period of ''self-inspection''.

Utopia was at the forefront of defending the leftist movement's figurehead, Bo Xilai.

Utopia was at the forefront of defending the leftist movement's figurehead, Bo Xilai. Photo: AFP

''Authorities say it would close for one month, but I don't know what will happen after that,'' Fan Jinggang, who runs the website and a Beijing bookstore, also named Utopia, told the Herald.

Utopia had been allowed to flourish since it was founded in 2003 and soon became the platform for China's resurgent hard-left. It opposes privatisation of the economy and other Western-style reform, and has at times been critical of China's leadership, while promoting achievements of the former leader Mao Zedong.

The website has also been at the forefront in defending Mr Bo, the movement's figurehead, who is at the centre of the country's worst political crisis in two decades.

Mr Bo had won significant support within the upper echelons of the Communist Party for his campaign to spread ''red'' nostalgia throughout China. But he was removed as Chongqing party chief after an embarrassing betrayal which saw his former right-hand man, Wang Lijun, visit the US consulate in Chengdu in February, reportedly linking him to the death of a British national, Neil Heywood.

The Utopia website had also been taken offline following Mr Bo's sacking. Other left-wing websites Mao's Flag and China's Elections and Governance have also been shut down.

''If they want to shut us down, it is their right,'' Utopia founder Han Deqiang told the Associated Press.

Last week, six people were arrested and 16 websites were closed for ''spreading rumours'' about Chinese politics.

with Sanghee Liu

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