As American citizens we often take our rights for granted. We live in a country where for the most part, journalists and citizens have the freedom to say mostly anything. In China, however, it’s quite a different story.
Over the last couple weeks, citizens of Hong Kong organized pro-democracy protests. Many protestors were not only trying to upload videos of the protest on the Internet, but actively criticizing the government through social media. In response, China has not only had to use force against these protestors, but has been desperately trying to censor any videos, images and comments that paint the government in a negative way.
I can understand why the Chinese government wants to censor criticisms, however, this is going a little too far.
To better understand it, we first must shine light on Karl Marx and the mainland Chinese beliefs. He believed that in order for communism to take effect, the revolution against the government should consist of a large number of citizens. I’m guessing that there are many people out there who believe that giving power to the people instead of the government is something that should happen in a one party system. With this belief, it’s understandable to make sure that there won’t be a pro-democracy revolution under their nose, because just like in a pro-communism revolution, all you have to do is to give the false idea that the government is perfect. This is very different from America, where the First Amendment protects the freedoms of speech and the right for a peaceful assembly of citizens. The use of censorship to hide negative governmental actions, however, does not always win people over.
A news bit broke out essentially saying that the 2017 Hong Kong election candidates would be hand picked by mainland officials, and it won’t be surprising if they conveniently have the same political beliefs. From this news, protests developed. Since that small piece of information wasn’t censored in time, within a day it was all over the place. Now the protests are getting up to the point where the government can’t censor them before it actually shows up on the web.
I fully support the First Amendment, so much so, that when someone claims it is irrational to listen to words said 200 years ago, I wrote an article that claimed if that were the case, then we should just get rid of freedom of the press right now. Even though I agree that China should have freedom of press, that’s easier said than done. The first reason is because if there were a revolution, it would become contained very easily. This is because the People’s Liberation Army is so powerful, it would be easy for them to defeat a large number of amateurs.
Since these elections are in 2017 it’s safe to say this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing about this. One of the most interesting aspects of this is the question: who is pushing the most for democracy? Young people. This issue isn’t going away and in three years, I’m sure we’ll still be talking about this.