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What's 'public' in China?

By Staff writer / February 24, 2009

Reporters on the Job: The fate of Yitong law firm, one of China’s leading defenders of human rights, will be decided at a court hearing next week. (Read the Monitor's story here.) The event is supposed to be open to the public.

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But that does not mean that just anyone can turn up. Everyone but the principals involved needs permission to get in. I have applied for a permit to attend the hearing but I do not hold out any great hopes.

An official at the Judicial Department (where the hearing will be held) said she would help me get a permit. But she also refused to make any comment on the case. This does not suggest that she is very well disposed toward foreign reporters.

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