Article About Government Censorship of Article About Politician's Complaints of "Frightening" Censorship of Article About Chilling Effects on Speech Gets Censored

On March 3, 2016, Caixin Magazine published an article on its website entitled "Committee Member Jiang Hong: Citizens' Right to Expression Must be Safeguarded" (蒋洪委员:公民表达的权利必须要保障). Some excerpts: 
"The whole point of the Two Sessions meetings is to discuss major issues of State and put forth constructive opinions, not chat about trivialities. Owing to certain incidents, however, the masses are now all possessed with uncertainty, hoping to speak as little as possible. That's what the atmosphere is like now."

Jiang Hong, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference delegate and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics professor, arrived in Beijing on March 2 to participate in the Two Sessions meetings.
The article was subsequently deleted. Original URL:

On March 5, 2016, Caixin published an article on its website entitled "Committee Member Jiang Hong: The Fact That My Statements About the Two Sessions Have Been Labeled Illegal is ‘Frightening’” (蒋洪委员:我的两会言论被指违法违规“太可怕”). Some excerpts:

While browsing for an article about himself on the Weixin platform, Jiang Hong, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference delegate and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics professor, got a notice saying "This Page Can No Longer be Accessed." He found this "completely unacceptable." Jiang Hong stated it thus during an interview with a Caixin journalist on March 5.

Jiang Hong was presented with the following "ruling": "This page includes content that violates laws or rules, it was reported by many people, and in order to protect a green online environment, it has been blocked."

The article was a March 3 Caixin interview of Jiang Hong entitled "Committee Member Jiang Hong: Citizens' Right to Expression Must be Safeguarded." Jiang Hong explained to a Caixin reporter "Our school has a public platform where the article was posted, and it wasn't blocked."

Jiang Hong told a Caixin reporter: "The only thing I did in the article was stress a principle. I didn't even make any statements about any specific incident, and the title was a summary reflecting my meaning. Now even this basic right is deemed a violation of laws and regulations, and in the end it cannot be accessed. This leads me to wonder how much content that may not be violating laws or regulations but that is being blocked all the time."

As Jiang Hong sees it, this incident is extremely serious. The statements made in the article were basic common sense in a society with rule of law, and for it to be deemed to have violated laws and regulations is "Too scary, too shocking. After reviewing the text, I cannot find any content that would violate any laws or policies."

Jiang Hong went on to say that, over the last few years he has come across instances where "illegal" content has been inaccessible, "at those times I always thought they may have had this or that problem, but now when it is happening to me, I cannot help but keep wondering what laws and policies are being violated?"

Jiang Hong told the Caixin report that all of the illegal content was in fact an exercise of rights given by the Constitution, as well as being raised in Communist Party documents. Safeguarding the rights of citizens to know, to express, to participate, and to supervise; the right to expression is one of these.

"This way of doing things shows that this is being handled in a manner that is too arbitrary and capricious." Jiang Hong said that the modernization of the State's governance should be through administration using the rule of law. Ensuring freedom of speech for the citizens means ensuring that they can use any means to express themselves, including the Internet, Weibo, Weixin, newspapers, and any other forms of media.

"I am not denying that some people's speech may be wrong or illegal. But this can be resolved entirely through the legal process, using the law to made determinations and handle outcomes. We cannot have this kind of arbitrary and capricious censorship. When matters are handled in this fashion it is very easy for citizens' right to expression to be infringed upon." Jiang Hong went on to say that this issues must be treated seriously, that this is a fundamental principle for the society, and once abandoned it will become impossible to have any sort of discussion of a society with the rule of law.


The article was subsequently deleted. Original URL:

On March 7, Caixin published an article in English entitled “Story about Advisor's Free Speech Comments Removed from Caixin Website.” Some excerpts:
An article about a call by a member of the country's political advisory body for the people of China to enjoy freedom of speech has been removed from Caixin's Chinese-language website, even as the head of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference said its members should be allowed to speak their minds freely.
. . . .
An article based on the interview was posted on the news website, but on March 5 it was deleted by the Cyberspace Administration of China, a government censorship organ, because it contained "illegal content."
. . . .
The administration told Caixin's editors that the article "violated laws and regulations."
These screenshots show that the article was subsequently replaced with a different article entitled "A Lack of Vision in China's Internet Companies."

Original URL:

The same day, the state sponsored Global Times published an English language article entitled “Advisor Mulls Freedom of Speech Proposal.” Some excerpts:
A national political adviser was considering making a proposal to the national legislature in a bid to ensure citizens' legal right to self expression after a report about his remarks on this topic was blocked on China's social media, he told the Global Times on Sunday.
. . . .
Jiang told the Global Times on Sunday that the blocking of news reports is not "isolated and occasional."

"We see many cases of deleting posts and blocking websites on the Internet," said Jiang, who expressed concern about whether such moves are made in accordance with laws and regulations.

Jiang said that he has chosen to raise the issue of content blocking now because he is certain that the content in the blocked report in question did not violate any laws or regulations.

"That being the case, we need to think about whether decisions to block some content in the past were made on legal grounds or not," Jiang said, noting that much still needs to be done to ensure that citizens' right to expression is duly respected.

On Tuesday, China Discipline Inspection Daily, a newspaper affiliated with China's top Party disciplinary watchdog, weighed in with an old saying that a thousand yes-men cannot compare with one person who criticizes frankly. 
As of March 13, 2016, the Global Time's article was still available here:

Below are the three deleted Caixin articles in full.

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