The issue of freedom of expression in China has attracted the attention of other countries, human rights organization and the international community. Although the Constitution of China makes provisions to uphold and preserve the freedom of expression, the situation on the ground is implied otherwise. This is evidenced by censorship of the media, freedom of religion and internet usage (Flood, 2013). Over the past years, the government has been reported to impose bans on all religion and websites which have not been registered. The government is tyrannical when dealing with those who criticize its actions and they are punished heavily. It can be concluded that the country accepts the freedom of speech as a right in theory but fails to implement it in practice. China should be required to allow freedom of expression because it is a public right and adverse impacts the development in the country. This paper analyzes the current situation in the current, the main areas where the freedom of expression has been curtailed, actions being undertaken by international community and the way forward.
In order to get an understanding of the level of violation of the right of freedom of expression in China, it is important to looks at the definition of various terms. The right to freedom of expression has been clearly stipulated under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights (UDHR) and states that:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any type of media, regardless of frontiers.” (Rajagopalan, 2011)....
He has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any type of media, regardless of frontiers.” (Rajagopalan, 2011). This means that an individual has the right to express their views and opinions freely through writing, speech or any other form of communication so long as the information is not misleading and does not cause harm to others. Freedom of expression entails freedom of speech, freedom of press or media, freedom of speech and internet censorship. Article 35 of the constitution states that all the citizens are entitled to the freedom of speech, association, demonstration and press assembly (Rajagopalan, 2011). On the contrary, the government curtails freedom of expression in the country thus breaching the human rights. Current Situation The human rights situation in the country has been recorded to be poor over the years. There are several instances in history that support this fact. For instance, in 1966, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) instituted the International Bill of Human Rights but China refused to ratify it (Rajagopalan, 2011). In the recent past, various journalists who attempt to preach the message of democracy have been jailed. For example, Chinese journalist Shi Tao was jailed for ten years for showing support to a pro-democracy movement. The most shocking occurrence was when the Chinese government rejected the recommendations made by the United Nations (UN)concerning freedom of expression (Rajagopalan, 2011).