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A state-run newspaper published a bold appeal Wednesday for greater press freedom, saying the time had come for the Chinese public to "have the right to know."

The Shanghai-based Liberation Daily printed a commentary by Qian Bocheng, identified as a delegate to China's nominal parliament, in which Bocheng called for laws guaranteeing China's right to "have a free press.""If we really want to become an Open China in the eyes of the world, then we must first have an open press, that means opening up the press: Journalists have the right to interview, the media has the right to report and the public have the right to know," he said.

The article represented one of only a handful of calls for a free press that have emerged since the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations, when state-employed journalists joined student demon-strators in shouting, "We don't want to tell lies."

But after the Tiananmen Square Massacre, most such calls ceased.

However, Qian said he drew inspiration for his article from recent statements by senior leader Deng Xiaoping, who asked China to throw off influence of hard-line communism and open its doors wider to new ideas.