China's official press today printed sharp attacks on the use of wallposters to criticize the government, reviving language that has signaled past crackdowns on the year-old democracy movement here.
A front-page commentary in the China Youth News, reprinted on page two of the official Communist Party paper, The People's Daily, also decried "people who have gone in for anarchism" and "turn to foreigners for sympathy and support."
Two weeks ago a leading Chinese dissident was convicted of giving military information to a foreigner. He received a 15-year sentence, a develop [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] which has incited a lively wallposter debate here.
The commentary was not given the prominence that would suggest a full-fledged crackdown on wallposter dissent, but it indicated that some of the Chinese leadership were unhappy with what they have been seeing on Peking's main wallposter area, known as "Democracy Wall."
"Facts show that such posters are apt to be used by those who have ulterior motives to create confusion in production, work and society at large," the commentary said.
The article repeated a suggestion that was broadcast widely last March. At that time authorities had wallposter areas in several cities outside Peking washed clean with hoses and brushes. "Suggestions and opinions can be brought up at meetings or through other normal channels," the commentary said.
Peking's Democracy Wall, a long brick wall along the Avenue of Eternal Peace enclosing a bus yard, continued to display controversial posters today. Editors of an unofficial journal posted many large yellow pages of what they said were further excerpts from an unofficial transcript of the Oct. 16 trial of Wei Jingsheng. Wei is a former underground magazine editor who was sentenced to 15 years in jail for making counterrevolutionary statements and giving military information to a foreigner.
The commentary of the China Youth News said, "The lesson of how Wei Jingsheng slipped onto the counter-revolutionary road is worthy of attention." The unofficial magazine editors posting the wallposter transcript say they support Wei and want him freed, but some foreign journalists and diplomats here say they think the transcripts have at least tacit government approval, since they seem to discourage foreign contact with Chinese dissidents.
On at least two occasions recently the director of the official New China News Agency, Ceng Tao, advised foreign journalists not to believe what they read on Democracy Wall and depend instead for their information on the stories prepared by his agency. The official news agency put out a summary in English of the China Youth News commentary this evening.
"Old agitational methods with new slogans are being used in a bid to oppose party leadership," the commentary said. "Some of these people turn to foreigners for sympathy and support and to extend their 'fame' and 'influence.' But they are spurned by anyone with national dignity."
Since last November's first outpouring of critical wallposters and contacts with foreigners, the government has successively encouraged and discouraged such free expression.