Internet expands freedom of speech in China

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 26, 2014
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A government report on China's human rights said Monday that Internet has "dramatically" expanded the space of freedom of speech.

Chinese netizens post and forward 250 million microblog messages and over 20 billion WeChat and other instant messages every day, said the report on China' s human rights in 2013, issued by the State Council Information Office.

Internet has become one of the most important channels for the public to express its opinion, the report said.

"Chinese people enjoy extensive freedom of speech," the report said. "Within the range allowed by the Constitution and other laws, the public can discuss political issues freely."

The public can express opinions through Internet forums, blogs, personal webpages, social networks, online literature, online videos and other Internet platforms, according to the report.

The report quoted the statistics from seven websites including Sina and Tencent as saying that, among the 20 topics that received the most attention on line in 2013, the top 12 received over 2 million posts each, and the top one over 45 million posts.

Chinese netizens discussed a wide range of topics, including lawsuits, people's livelihood, individual rights and interests protection, doctor-patient disputes, and corruption, the report said.

By the end of 2013, the number of netizens in China reached 618 million and Internet coverage rate 45.8 percent, according to the report.

The country now has about 120 million Internet forum or bulletin board system (BBS) users, 437 million blog and personal webpage users and 278 million social network users.

Effective realization of freedom of speech ensures that the public oversee the government, the report said.

Many local government websites in China have mailboxes to receive letters from the public, while the central discipline inspection agency, Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate have opened tip-off websites.

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