BEIJING - A liberal Chinese journal’s website was shut down Friday, it said, in the latest and most prominent example of a crackdown by Chinese authorities against online freedom of expression. The website of the Beijing-based Annals of the Yellow Emperor was closed days after it published an appeal for leaders to guarantee constitutional rights including freedom of speech and assembly. The publication, which has links with senior retired Communist officials, had argued in the article that China’s constitution lays out a road map for political reform. Closure of the Annals’ website follows censorship by the authorities of similar calls made by a key liberal newspaper.
, while several influential Chinese journalists have had their social networking accounts deleted in recent weeks. The crackdown comes despite pledges of change from China’s new Communist leadership, headed by president-in-waiting Xi Jinping, which has promised a more open style of governance since the ruling party’s congress in November.