A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article concerning Blizzard’s censorship of pro-Hong Kong protests entitled “Companies in China.” We have republished the article in question to provide context to this issue. Felix received a response which I recommend you look over before reading this, on the pages preceding this article.
The article is, quite frankly, an insult to logic. As opposed to a reasonable point by point refutation of my own argument, the author relies on a sense of overwhelming personal outrage. Unfortunately, anger does not make an argument. The overriding theme of the article is that I have overstepped the bounds of free speech by criticising China as oppressive and mocking Xi Jinping. Furthermore, the article attempts to clarify the errors in Western attitudes with regards to China. The author has remarkably gathered his comprehensive summary of these attitudes in under a month from the prestigious and oft-cited website “YouTube.” I shall not deal with the second section of the article any further.
The author accuses me of describing the Chinese government as oppressive. To be completely clear, the Chinese government is oppressive. It is currently in the process of interring an entire ethnic group in re-education camps. It is still widely suspected of extracting organs from its executed political prisoners, despite claiming that it ended this practice a few years ago. It prevents access to the external internet using a Great Firewall and provides instead an extensively monitored and censored alternative. This has been used to control the flow of information into China as well as erasing memories of past events, such as a certain massacre that definitely didn’t happen in 1989. There are almost countless examples of the Chinese government preventing those that live within its borders from exercising various human rights, including the right to free speech, through insidious and violent state coercion.
To a certain extent, the Chinese government is perfectly within its rights to operate in this manner. It is an independent sovereign state with a government that certainly appears to have the support of the masses of China. In the last few decades, the Chinese system of government has overseen rapid economic growth and the uplifting of many millions from poverty. The issue arises when China attempts to extend censorship of Chinese government censorship to other sovereign states, such as the UK, in an effort to stem international criticism. This can manifest itself in attempts to regulate foreign discussion of Hong Kong by applying economic pressure to companies that operate within China. Or it could involve attempting to shut down mockery directed at Xi Jinping even though this type of commentary is entirely within the laws of the UK.
Some Chinese nationals are certainly considered to have a part to play in this strategy. At the University of Queensland, Australia, clashes were sparked when pro-Beijing counter-protesters ripped up protest signs from a peaceful pro-Hong Kong demonstration. Only last week, new morality guidelines were issued by the Chinese government instructing Chinese citizens to defend China’s honor when travelling abroad. Although I am absolutely not accusing the author of acting on behalf of his government, this article would surely please the CCP back in Beijing.
The author sent Felix the following list of demands, copied verbatim from the email:
- An official apology by Felix and the comment editor Charles Titmuss to the Chinese community at Imperial on school newspaper, twitter, and Facebook
- Promise that such case will not happen again
- (Optional) A PDF is attached in response to this article and I would like it posted on school newspaper. If any moderation is necessary for it to be posted, please tell me.
Unfortunately, I will not offer an apology. I will also not promise to not write about or deliberately insult China again. Neither will the Editor-in-Chief apologise on behalf of Felix, and Felix will continue to cover stories or opinions about China (in Politics or Comment respectively).
What we will do is what we have always done: offer a platform to anyone that would use it to inform the rest of the students at the University of your opinion under the proper operation of Freedom of Speech in the UK. Anyone can write for us and they will be published, providing we’re not bored of the topic as we hope we’ve shown today. Just be coherent next time.
On a personal note, I am rather delighted by the response. It is not very often that it is demanded of one to apologise to the entire nation of China. I was worried that I had lost the ability to piss people off. I shall leave you, dear reader, with this: Free Tibet, Taiwan Number One, Glory to Hong Kong. And of course, make Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh again.