The outspoken Chinese academic and CPPCC delegate Ge Jianxiong is upset with a mainland media outlet for saying he supported the authorities’ closure of former property boss Ren Zhiqiang’s microblog account.
State media lashed out at Ren after he questioned President Xi Jinping’s call for mainland media to align itself with the Communist Party leadership.
Ren said in one post that as state media outlets were funded by taxpayers they should serve the public, not the party.
On Tuesday, the Beijing-based news portal Youth.cn reported that Ge Jianxiong, a former Fudan University History professor renowned for expressing strong opinions on hot social topics, said that he never followed Ren’s microblog account and opposed his “extreme opinions”.
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As a Communist Party member, Ren had gone crossed the line with his remarks, Gen was reported as saying, and therefore there is no reason for the authorities to allow Ren’s microblog account to remain open.
“I side with the [Party’s handling] of Ren’s Weibo account,” Ge was quoted as saying. “How can a party member provoke the authorities in such a public manner?”
“Freedom of speech should fall in the framework of the constitution, which stipulates that the Party leads our country and any speech cannot exceed this line,” he was quoted as saying.
“The state gives people freedom of speech, but won’t give anyone with vicious motives the freedom to forge rumours and smear others.”
In the report, Ge urges the government to beef up supervision of microblog space since “every country and every venue has its restriction on speech.”
The report unleashed a torrent of comments, most of them critical of Ge, who wrote on his microblog account at 10 pm on Tuesday that he “was not satisfied” with the publication.
“I am very shocked and regret that Youth.cn carried such a report without being approved by me,” he wrote.
The scholar, a delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said recently that he would not take more interviews so he could focus on perfoming his duties as a political adviser. The conference opens formally on Thursday.
The former curator of the university and professor of history is known as “Cannon Ge” due to his outspokenness in media. He once criticised the government for meddling in research.
He has been CPPCC member since 2007, and has submitted proposals dealing with livelihood issues of ordinary people, to the praise of many.
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At a panel discussion of CPPCC in 2012, Ge interrupted the cliche speech of education minister Yuan Guiren and urged him to talk about the investigation result of a serious test paper release accident, as well as to make apology to students taking that test.
But on Tuesday, Ge blocked comments on his microblog. Internet users vented their anger on a post following it, that was not related to his alleged comments about Ren.
“You are disgusting,” said one person.
“The Cultural Revolution has not arrived yet,” wrote another. “But you are in such a rush to show your loyalty to the state leaders. What you did is a shame.”