China's Crackdown on Text Messages and Web Sites

A Beijing city regulation clamping down on people who send text messages that "spread rumors" or "endanger public security" is threat to freedom of expression. China Human Rights Defenders, an international network of activists and rights monitoring groups, said Monday that the recent regulation on text messages "raises serious concerns over the restriction of freedom of expression in China." China has more than 500 million cell phone users and text messaging has become an increasingly effective way to spread word of meetings or demonstrations.

Meanwhile, a Tibetan language online discussion forum was shut down this month for having content that was against Chinese law, according to a notice on its Web site.

The popular forum, which was hosted at www.Tibet123.com, was shut down for containing "illegal content," according to a notice on the Web site.

The notice says it "strongly condemns the 'rotten apple in the barrel' who published harmful information."

The notice then invites people to leave comments. It is not clear if the notice is from the site moderator or the government.

Media rights group Reporters Without Borders has called the site "the most dynamic forum in the Tibetan blogosphere" with over 6,200 registered members.

The Paris-based group said the site has been closed since Dec. 6. It was still inaccessible Monday.

information for this report was provided by AP.