Kier is correct about censorship in China, but China does not have a freedom of the press clause in its Constitution, and Saudi Arabia is even more repressive but that doesn’t stop the US from buying Saudi oil. In addition, the major media in China is owned by the government.
How many that read this post know that freedom of expression in the United States only applies to criticisms of the American government, and workers do not have freedom of expression in the private sector? In America, it is highly possible to get fired for saying something that is forbidden or unacceptable by a company one works for.
In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that students attending America’s public schools do not have freedom of expression in the classroom if it disrupts the learning environment.
In China, there is censorship of the media and of the Internet, but it is a leaky bucket. Books that are banned are only banned in Mandarin but that does not mean they are not available to the general population.
Bookstores, both state and private owned, often have banned titles available in English or other languages and since learning English is mandatory in the public schools, many in China may buy and read banned books without a problem.
In addition, there is an active black market in Mandarin translations of banned books as there is a black market for pirated DVDs of Western movies and TV series (some of which are banned in China). The Chinese people are notorious for finding ways to get around government rules.
As for censorship of the Internet, that is a joke. I have friends in China that often use proxy servers daily to log onto the Internet and bypass the censors to access information in the West that China’s censors fail to block. It takes a few minutes of effort for those that want to access censored sites on the Internet, but millions do it daily. At its worst, censorship in China is a nuisance.
In addition, there are more Blogs in China than any other country, and those Blogs are actively expressing themselves regardless of the censors, which has led to reversals of laws and government policies unpopular with millions of people.
In fact, my Blog is a WordPress Blog and WordPress is censored in China, but I have readers from China logging in daily to read my posts.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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