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. 
说到底,只要信息自由流动,网络舆论就具有某种“对冲”功能。金庸“被死亡”的谣言,发端于微博,也迅速消解于微博;日本地震后的中国抢盐风波中,微博成了辟谣的主力;前不久一对演员夫妇敌视同性恋者的微博言论,也受到网民的普遍批评。实践表明,允许不同声音的充分表达和自由讨论,将有利于网络舆论的生态平和。
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." 
目前对微博客的发展议论较多,不妨重温一下邓小平同志在著名的南方谈话中,对初兴的证券股票“好不好、有没有危险”的表态:“允许看,但要坚决地试。看对了,搞一两年对了,放开;错了,纠正,关了就是了。关,也可以快关,也可以慢关,也可以留一点尾巴。怕什么,坚持这种态度就不要紧,就不会犯大错误。”

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...