I wanted to echo John Hughes' column "China long on talk, short on deeds to ensure free press" (Oct. 31). Noting that despite Communist Party Chief Hu Jintao's frequent use of "democracy" in his recent keynote speech, China has shown little progress toward real freedom.

In fact, in this year's Freedom House survey of Freedom of the Press, China was labelled "Not Free" with its news media "tightly controlled by the Central Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party."

Just a hundred miles off China's shores, Taiwan is an entirely different society. Freedom House describes my country as "well-known for having one of the freest media environments in East Asia because of its firm commitment to judicial independence and economic freedom."

Leading up to the Olympics, the Chinese authorities had promised concrete changes, and it is time that the world put pressure on them to keep their word.

Tony Ong

Director, Press Division

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office

San Francisco