News February 15, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Questions about freedom of information will be relayed to Chinese vice-president 2/2 China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison News March 12, 2021 Find out more April 27, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts RSF_en News Help by sharing this information Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes Mr. Xi JinpingVice-President of the People’s Republic of ChinaParis, 15 February 2012Dear Vice-President Xi,Reporters Without Borders, an organization that defends freedom of information and media freedom, has been calling for more than 25 years for the decriminalization of media offences in China, for the abolition of state censorship of the Chinese media, for the free flow of information in the country and online, and for the release of journalists and Internet users who are detained just for publishing information which the judicial authorities regard as criminal. Aside from a brief contact with the Chinese authorities in 2007, Reporters Without Borders has been completely unsuccessful in its attempts to establish a constructive dialogue with China on these issues, as it has done with other governments in Asia and the rest of the world.As you are currently on a visit to Washington and have said that China is ready for a “candid dialogue” on human rights, Reporters Without Borders reiterates its proposal to start a dialogue on freedom of information and its readiness to help the Chinese government in every way possible in a task that is also its responsibility and duty – improving freedom of information in China.In a message to Internet users yesterday, Reporters Without Borders offered to channel their questions about media freedom to you. This initiative was intended to be another attempt at dialogue, as all the previous attempts have failed.We would like to point out to you that Reporters Without Borders is an independent organization whose concerns and criticisms are just the result of many requests for help from Chinese citizens and foreign residents in China, and do not in any way reflect a desire to meddle in China’s internal affairs.Twenty-four hours after our proposal to Internet users, we now submit to you some of the questions we received. The “Reporters Without Borders” accounts we opened on the Sina Weibo and Renren platforms in order to make it easier for Internet users in China to send us their questions were unfortunately blocked. Although they are the most directly affected, Internet users in China were unable to have their questions freely relayed by Reporters Without Borders. The following questions emerged from this brief exercise:- Chinese Internet users often speak out about cases of corruption or abuse of authority by officials. Can you guarantee them real online freedom of expression so that they can continue to speak out on matters of general interest?- Why are foreign journalists often prevented from moving freely about the country and from interviewing willing persons although both of these activities are permitted by the regulations that are in effect?- The international community would like to know more about what is happening in Tibet and Xinjiang. Why is freedom of information in these regions different from in other regions of China? Are there ways to improve the situation?- Can you describe the situation of freedom of information and media freedom in China and explain why it is so different from the situation in western countries such as the United States and certain European countries, although China’s constitution supposedly guarantees these freedoms?- What do you think of freedom of expression and information in western countries, including the freedom enjoyed by Chinese journalists based abroad?- Most references to the Arab springs have been withdrawn from the Chinese Internet. Are you going to allow your citizens to freely debate China’s political future and allow the media to contribute to this debate?- We are very worried about the fate of the dissident Gao Zhisheng. Is he still alive?- Aside from the human rights aspect, the censorship of certain foreign news websites also violates international trade regulations. What measures does the Chinese government plan to take to remedy this problem?These are some of the questions being asked by journalists and ordinary citizens of all nationalities as well as by Reporters Without Borders,We hope that you will understand the importance of establishing a dialogue on freedom of information in China and that you will respond positively to our request.Sincerely, News China’s Cyber Censorship Figures Olivier BasilleReporters Without Borders secretary-general ChinaAsia – Pacific Reporters Without Borders addressed the following open letter to Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping today, after asking Internet users yesterday to put questions to him about freedom of information in China via the social networks we use. The accounts that we specially created for this purpose on several Chinese social networks were quickly blocked. We regret that the Chinese censors did not allow their fellow citizens to participate in a debate that was meant to be constructive.________________ Organisation ChinaAsia – Pacific to go further Follow the news on China June 2, 2021 Find out more
Scientists are peeling back the ancient veneer of our understanding of aging, replacing the idea that creatures merely “wear out” over time with a rising knowledge of the genetic roots of the process and how it varies between species. Their findings raise the prospect that aging eventually might be at least partly controlled.Cynthia Kenyon, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and director of the Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging, outlined recent advances in her decades-long career studying aging and discussed recent progress in the field before an audience Thursday at Harvard’s Northwest Laboratory Building.Kenyon delivered the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology’s (MCB) Paul Doty Lecture, named after the biochemist who died in 2011 at age 91. Matthew Meselson, Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences, introduced the session, talking briefly about Doty, who spent 42 years on the Harvard faculty and became prominent in both biochemistry and public policy.Doty’s scientific work with DNA laid the groundwork for many of the most advanced genetic techniques now in use, including polymerase chain reaction. He played a key role in founding Harvard’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, a precursor to today’s MCB. Doty also spearheaded efforts to get U.S. and Soviet Union scientists talking as a way to bridge the Cold War divide, particularly on nuclear weapons. He founded the Harvard Center for Science and International Affairs, which became the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.Kenyon, who was introduced by Craig Hunter, professor of molecular and cellular biology, sparked renewed interest in aging in 1993, when she discovered that a mutation of a single gene, called Daf-2, doubled the life span of the roundworm C. elegans, a common laboratory animal used to model the biology of more complex organisms. The mutation, it turns out, turned down the Daf-2 gene, decreasing the output of a hormone receptor that allows tissues to respond to insulin and an insulin-like hormone, IGF-1.“Hormones speed up aging, at least in these worms,” Kenyon said.She then found a second gene, Daf-16, that plays the opposite role. Turning it up increased youthfulness in the worms. Both mutations were needed for longevity to occur in the worms.The genes trigger several actions in the worms’ bodies, turning up cell-protective genes, ratcheting up immunity genes, conferring additional resistance against disease, and conferring stress resistance, including — to some degree — against fire, Kenyon said.The genes trigger a response that seems geared to keep the worm alive in a harsh environment, such as one with little food. Kenyon likened the genes’ actions to those of a lazy building superintendant who hears that a hurricane is heading his way. He calls the roofer, the carpenter, and the painter, who all hustle over to work on the house. If the hurricane hits, the house survives. If it doesn’t, the house survives a lot longer because of the repairs.Matthew Meselson, Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences, introduced the session, talking briefly about Paul Doty, who spent 42 years on the Harvard faculty and became prominent in both biochemistry and public policy.Researchers are probing the many questions arising over how the body controls aging. They’ve shown that the response seen in the worms is also seen in other animals, including fruit flies and mice. It’s impossible to do controlled experiments in humans, but studies of one population of centenarians have shown they’re also more likely to have reduced function for IGF-1.The link to a hormone like insulin that helps the body take up nourishment has provided clues to researchers investigating the effects of extreme reduced-calorie diets that have also been proven to extend life span.