Why did China cancel the Magna Carta's display?


Quick Answer

China cancelled the display of the Magna Carta at one of Beijing's top universities because the Chinese Communist Party found the contents in the document in conflict with their beliefs. Written and signed by King John of England in 1215, the document limits the power of the king and emphasizes that the common people should have more rights.

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Full Answer

Information on the Magna Carta was also purged from China's Internet, citing that displaying the information went against "relevant laws and regulations." Information access throughout China is heavily monitored.

Particularly distressing to the Communist Party were passages stating that the common people had the right of access to natural resources and that no freeman may be imprisoned without reason or deprived of his property or goods. It also limits land appropriation, a practice that the Chinese government regularly exercises.

Public display of the document could be construed as an official approval of its contents. Mao Zedong, the country's late leader, reminded the country that China is a democratic dictatorship, with an emphasis on the word "dictatorship."

Britain supposedly got approval to bring the document to China for display, but at the last minute the Chinese government reversed its position. The Magna Carta remains at the British Embassy in Beijing, as of November 2015.

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