Chinese block rights website

April 9, 2004

Chinese authorities have blocked access to the website of a Canadian foundation that funds human rights and social justice studies.

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, named after the late Canadian prime minister, was set up two years ago with a C$125 million (£52 million) endowment to support more than 100 scholars a year - up to a quarter of them foreign nationals studying in Canada. But for months, potential recipients in China have been unable to access the site.

An independent technical analysis confirmed that the site had been blocked.

The Montreal foundation contracted the analysts after hearing from internet users in China who were unable to gain access to the site.

In a letter to the Chinese ambassador in Ottawa, the foundation says it feels "great concern" about the blocking of its site and it demands that China allow access.

The Chinese embassy has not responded to the letter. As of last week, however, the site was reported to be once more accessible in China, but it was unclear whether this was in response to the foundation's complaint.

The foundation has also asked Canada's Foreign Affairs Department to raise the issue with the Chinese authorities.

The foundation supports doctoral students undertaking research in one of four areas: human rights and social justice, responsible citizenship, Canada and the world, and humans and their natural environment.

Each year it will award up to 15 three-year scholarships, worth C$50,000 a year. Grants worth up to C$75,000 a year will also be given to five mid-career scholars.


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