The Question of Freedom of Expression in China
Sabrina Berardi


Article 19 of the ICCPR: "Everyone has the right to freedom of expression: this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice."

Several of the rights are no longer the Chinese citizens’ to have after being taken away by the Government. The Chinese Government believes that if they let the people have freedom of expression, they will be overthrown. So, to keep in power, they decided that they would just try to prevent anyone from finding out what they were doing by making sure they didn’t have the time or resources. The biggest part of this protection is through software filters for the internet. Chinese citizens supposedly do not know of any blocked websites. Also, certain words are also blocked as well as anything that just may threaten the government’s hold on power.
“The following issues are prohibited according to Chinese law:
1. Criticism of the PRC Constitution
2. Revealing State secrets, and discussion about overthrowing the Communist government
3. Topics that damage the reputation of the State
4. Discussions that ignite ethnic animosity, discrimination or regional separatism
5. Discussion that undermines the state's religious policy, as well as promotes evil cults and superstition
6. Spreading rumors, perpetrating and disseminating false news that promotes disorder and social instability
7. Dissemination of obscenity, sex, gambling, violence, and terror. Cyber-sex is not permitted within the English chat-room.
8. Humiliating or slandering innocent people
9. Any discussion and promotion of content which PRC laws prohibit
No unit or individual may use the Internet to create, replicate, retrieve, or transmit the following kinds of information:

1. Inciting to resist or violate the Constitution or laws or the implementation of administrative regulations;
2. Inciting to overthrow the government or the socialist system;
3. Inciting division of the country, harming national unification;
4. Inciting hatred or discrimination among nationalities or harming the unity of the nationalities;
5. Making falsehoods or distorting the truth, spreading rumours, destroying the order of society;

6. Promoting feudal superstitions, sexually suggestive material, gambling, violence, murder,
7. Engaging in terrorism or inciting others to criminal activity; openly insulting other people or distorting the truth to slander people;
8. Injuring the reputation of state organs;”

All the above was issued by the Chinese government to protect and keep things in order. A message came from the government as well that clearly said that any exercises of fundamental human rights given under international and domestic Chinese law, cannot be guaranteed if and when it threatens the absolute control of the CPC. When anyone breaks or threatens to break any of these laws or even innocent people who are believed to be rebels, they suffer punishment. Punishments vary with every case. In some cases, the supposed criminals are held in jail from one month up to 3-4 years. Some ways the Chinese government enforces its laws is through widespread surveillance, followed by detention, arrest and, in some cases, long prison sentences. Police can threaten, harass, monitor, and jail to make certain there are no major problems to get in the way of progress in the Government.external image CINA_(F)_0114_-_Google.jpg
There are many examples on issues like this that are both old and very recent, such as the following. One month before the opening of Beijing, just to make sure, there were already 44 writers and journalists being held in Chinese prisons. Also, in the year of 1994, a minimum of 20 Chinese writers, editors, publishers and journalists, were persecuted in connection to the work they did. Then on June 4, a well known writer and dissident, Dr Liu Xiaobo was manhandled and now is under surveillance at his home by police.
In 1994, China was first linked to the global internet and ever since the Government has sought to control all connections to the internet. Since January 2001, sending any "secret" or "reactionary" materials over the internet became a serious capital crime that was taken extremely seriously. The internet is now, China’s greatest struggle. With the Government putting in filters that block websites containing any unwanted words, information, or ideas. They have been trying to get Google to change things so that the citizens can not find anything dangerous on there. Google has been fighting against this request and so in August 2002 the Government temporarily blocked Google completely. They thought that the solution was a good one but had to unblock it after the burst of outcries from all over the country for this well loved website.
Although, China had promised to improve and grant more press freedom and domesticate freedom of expression, seven months later there is not sign of any significant change in these ways of security.



Works Cited

37th FIDH Congress, In Yerevan. “China’s Critical Human Rights Situation: Freedom of Expression Under Threat.” fidh. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2010. <http://www.fidh.org/‌IMG/‌pdf/‌HRIC_Resolution_EN.pdf>.
Author, Unknown. “CHINA: Freedom of Expression ‘Stainless Steel Mouse & Golden Shield’ .” Human Rights Features. Human Rights Documentation Centre (HRDC), n.d. Web. 10 May 2010. <http://www.hrdc.net/‌sahrdc/‌hrfchr59/‌Issue6/‌china.htm>.
A Human Rights Watch Backgrounder. “Freedom of Expression and the Internet in China.” unknown. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2010. <http://www.hrw.org/‌backgrounder/‌asia/‌china-bck-0701.htm>.
Pazira, Nelofer. “The real score on freedom of expression in China.(Comment)(BEIJING OLYMPICS: ONE MONTH TO GO)(Critical essay).” Global Issues in Context. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2010. <http://find.galegroup.com/‌gic/‌retrieve.do?contentSet=IAC-Documents&sort=Relevance&tabID=T006&searchId=R2&docId=A181067664&prodId=GIC&currentPosition=1&userGroupName=amwa&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&sgHitCountType=None&qrySerId=Locale(en,,):FQE%3D(KE,None,27)China+freedom+of+expression$&inPS=true&searchType=&docId=A181067664&docType=IAC>.
Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights. “Controls on Expressions and Associations.” China Human Rights Fact Sheet. Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, n.d. Web. 10 May 2010. <http://www.christusrex.org/‌www1/‌sdc/‌hr_facts.html>.

Singer, Peter. “The unknown promise of internet freedom.” Guardian. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2010. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/‌commentisfree/‌2010/‌apr/‌04/‌internet-china-google-censorship>.