Poem power – China blocks PEN Poem Relay website

In 2005 China participated in the 2nd Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society whose final commitment was this. Here’s an extract:

  • We reaffirm our desire and commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and multilateralism, and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so that people everywhere can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, to achieve their full potential and to attain the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.
  • We reaffirm the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, as enshrined in the Vienna Declaration. We also reaffirm that democracy, sustainable development, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as good governance at all levels are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. We further resolve to strengthen respect for the rule of law in international as in national affairs.”

In 2006, China hosted World Telecom . (It had already hosted Telecom Asia in 2002 which facilitated its positioning on the cutting edge of telecommunications technology.)

Sydney PEN reports that on 5 August, the eve of the opening of the Olympics in Beijing, the PEN Poem Relay website – which uses poetry and translation to send a message about freedom of expression in China – has been blocked in mainland China. See the Press Release!

Whatever happened to the “right to communicate”? Was it just a dream? Can it still come true?