Sunday, July 17, 2011

People's Daily Op Eds Debate Free Speech on the Internet

The following are translated excerpts from parts 4 and 5 of a series of People’s Daily editorials published between July 11 and July 15 under the heading “Handling Internet Users and Online Opinion Well” (善待网民和网络舆论). I think they capture nicely the ambivalent utilitarian approach regulators take towards the Internet.

The "Ecological Governance" of Online Opinions (网络舆论的“生态治理”)
At the end of the day, if information flows freely, then online opinion has a certain kind of "self correcting" functionality. Rumors of Jin Yong's death got their start on Weibo, and were quickly dispelled on Weibo. Weibo was one of the main forces for dispelling rumors of radiated salt after the Japan earthquake. Not long ago an actor attacked homosexuals on Weibo, and was subject to universal criticism by Internet users. Practice has shown that permitting different voices to fully express themselves and freely discuss is conducive to a peaceful Internet environment. 
The Netizenry, The People, and The Citizenry" (网民、人民和公民)
Why not go back to the attitude shown in the famous statement Deng Xiaoping made during his Southern Campaign regarding the initial excitement about securities and stock markets: "good or bad, is there any danger": "Are securities and the stock market good or bad? Do they entail any dangers? Are they peculiar to capitalism? Can socialism make use of them? We allow people to reserve their judgement, but we must try these things out. If, after one or two years of experimentation, they prove feasible, we can expand them. Otherwise, we can put a stop to them and be done with it. We can stop them all at once or gradually, totally or partially. What is there to be afraid of? So long as we keep this attitude, everything will be all right, and we shall not make any major mistakes." 

Translation: Huang Xuqin and Wang Jianbing Inciting Subversion Indictment

On June 14, 2024, the Twitter account "Free Huang Xueqin & Wang Jianbing 释放雪饼" (@FreeXueBing)  posted a copy of the last two p...