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The paper seeks to examine the freedom of speech for the people of Republic of China. The paper seeks to do this, by examining the way the government of China has treated the media. This is because the paper believes that the media is central to the freedom of expression in any country. The paper also briefly examines how the Chinese government responds to those who activate for political freedom in China.
The Freedom of Speech in the People’s Republic of China
The recent tussles between the government of China and the search engine Google show that China has gagged the media. This is because the Internet is the most modern means of communication (Cohn, 2007). It is also the media that can make most people express themselves freely. For freedom of expression to exist, there must be a free media .This is because people can only be heard through the media. Only last year, Liu, a renowned journalist was sent to prison. This was because of an email he had written. The charges against him were that he called for peaceful political demonstrations. Many ordinary Chinese have been jailed for candid political expression.
The People’s Republic of China continues to be a country that restricts the freedom of expression. This has seen many people leave the country. It has always managed to restrict freedom of expression by censoring the media. Since its formation in 1949, china has gagged the media. This has been due to the fact that the media is state run. Only a small number of media houses are not state run. They include CCTV, The People’s Daily and Xinhua. Where the media are not censored they encounter stiff government regulations. The media here is taken to mean television, Radio, newapapers, magazines and more recently the Internet. Some of the regulations that the media faces are as follows; for one, it is forbidden to report or question the legitimacy of the communist party. This, in Chinese media is a taboo subject that can get one jailed. The media cannot also report on the government of Tibet. Tibet is a secessionist state it has seceded from China although China maintains that it is part of China. The Chinese media cannot also report on the religious movement Falun Gong. The past few years have seen the loosening of some of the government rules that restrict the media. This has been through the commercialization of the media. Also, the emergency of independent media houses has seen to participate in the loosening of the media restrictions (Esarey, 2005).
For purposes of integrity, let the paper state that the Chinese media reports on social issues. The freedom that has been curtailed is the political expression. Political expression constitutes freedom of expression. The curtailing of the freedom of expression began way back in 1949. This was the year that saw the birth of the People’s Republic of China. The government established regulations to make sure that the media does not report certain topics. These regulations have always been passed by the socialist party which is the governing party. The parliament of China has also been involved in the passing of laws that gag the media (Yuezhi, 1998).
In 1993, the Chinese government moved to censor the newest form of communication. This was the Internet and the World Wide Web. Thus, the Internet has been censored in China since its inception. Since then there have been continuous fights between the Chinese government and management of search engines such as Google and Yahoo. The fight between the Chinese government and management of the mentioned search engines is about the freedom of expression. This is because the Chinese government has realized the potential of the Internet to be used as a means of communication. The government does not want the citizens to have any avenue where they can express themselves freely (Yuezhi, 1998).
The Chinese government has established a system that ensures that those who speak against the government are arrested. These are the people who dare question the government on the taboo subject of freedom of expression. The other category includes those who fight for the rights of the citizens. These are the people who protest against police brutality. The police have been active in ensuring that those who speak against the government do not escape. They get arrested and charged on charges of defamation. Others go missing for months until they appear in court under false charges. Activists, when arrested, face long prison charges to discourage others from following in their suit. The government has also established a well trained police force to track down anyone who disobeys its regulations on censorship. Every kind of media is closely watched to ensure that they comply with the rules and regulations set in place to silence the citizenry. The one media that have been heavily censored in the recent past is the Internet.
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