A liberal think tank website that backs free markets has been closed for days, its co-founder said Wednesday, though its web administrator said it was for technical reasons.
The shutdown of unirule.org.cn comes amid a tightening of communication controls during one of China’s biggest political scandals in decades.
Established in 1993, Unirule Institute of Economics in Beijing champions free market economics, and some of its members advise Beijing on its economic policies. Articles posted on Unirule’s website focus primarily on economics and politics.
Mao Yushi, co-founder of Unirule, has been named the 2012 winner of the Washington-based Cato Institute’s Milton Friedman Prize for his advocacy for free markets.
He is scheduled to be in Washington on Friday (May 4, 2012) to receive the award. He said from his Beijing home Wednesday that the blocking of the Unirule site had nothing to do with winning the Cato award.Here is what Forbes in saying about the Unirule/Cato issue.
In the latest think tank ratings by the University of Pennsylvania, Unirule was rated as the #12 best think tank with an annual operating budget of less than $5 million.
Update: A Chinese protester reportedly disrupted the event and had to be dragged out of the Washington Hilton. You can watch a 17 second video at the link provided. Do not worry: Mr. Yushi still received his $250,000 prize.