14 Oct 2010

Chinese Communist elders call for freedom of speech

7:01 pm on 14 October 2010

A group of 23 Communist Party elders in China has written a letter calling for an end to the country's restrictions on freedom of speech.

The letter says freedom of expression is promised in the Chinese constitution but not allowed in practice.

The signatories want people to be able to freely express themselves on the internet and want more respect for journalists.

The call comes just days after Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Mr Liu was sent to prison for 11 years in 2009 for expressing his desire to see peaceful political change in China.

The letter's release also comes ahead of a key party meeting that is expected to promote future leaders and shape policy for the next few years.