Thursday, September 12, 2013
China: Draconian Legal Interpretation Threatens Online Freedom
“This is NOT an analysis of the article, etc. It is your response/opinion.” Our assignment is to blog about our opinion on a human rights issue in the world today. This assignment allows us the opportunity to freely express ourselves and share our ideas with other students who may or may not agree with us. We sometimes take this remarkable freedom for granted, however one look at China’s new legal interpretation of online expression quickly reminds us just how remarkable it is we can have such a freedom.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Supreme People’s Court’s ruling makes defamation and creating disturbances applicable to expressions online. Defamation is already a criminal offense under Chinese Law so why not expand this law to all of cyberspace? Seems reasonable, right? Well, the new interpretation has not just taken the current law and slapped it onto the World Wide Web. Instead, it has been expanded to a point so vague, “that anyone can be jailed for exposing official wrongdoing, or indeed saying anything the government doesn’t like.” This concept of being penalized for criticizing the government seems so foreign, maybe because it is so natural for us to see every news station giving their own take on just how badly our government is dealing with a certain situation.
Furthermore, online expression is just that, a chance for individuals to express their opinions about their lives and more importantly, their government. Freedom of expression is necessary for improvement and growth. We learn from our blunders but how will China learn and grow if it is unwilling to hear what its people have to say?