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China shuts off debate on 1911 revolution

BEIJING, April 10 (UPI) -- Chinese officials suddenly canceled a student debate on China's 1911 revolution, a debate judge said Sunday.

Zhang Ming, a political science professor at Renmin University, told The New York Times Beijing's Communist Youth League ordered the event called off Friday night, hours before the opening debate.

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"This is really hateful for them to do," Zhang said. "The organizers said they tried to negotiate with the committee, but they couldn't change the decision."

A crackdown on dissent has been in force across China for weeks.

The national debate contest, to be hosted by the Beijing Institute of Technology, was to mark the centennial of the nationalist revolution against the Qing Dynasty.

The competition's site urged students to address not only "the inspirational revolutionary victory, but what is hidden deeper beneath: the awakening of the awareness of this country's people."

The Web site also encouraged students to "think deeper about nationalism, democracy and livelihood, to continue to blaze new trails in a pioneering spirit, to keep fighting for the renovation and development of the nation."

In an article published Saturday in The South China Morning Post of Hong Kong, Zhang said the government is now "afraid of every sensitive topic."

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