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China slams U.S.'s free speech charade in new report


The Chinese Foreign Ministry released a new report on Thursday in which it slammed the U.S. for its rhetoric around freedom of speech, given its well-documented record of violations of free speech at home and abroad.

Incorporating a number of opinion polls and media reports, the report stated that freedom of speech in the U.S. is not worthy of the name while the U.S. manipulates freedom of speech domestically and in foreign countries.

Citing a 2022 national poll conducted by The New York Times and Siena College, the report noted that 66 percent of participants said they do not believe that Americans enjoy free speech, while 46 percent said that American society is far less free to talk about politics compared with a decade ago due to political polarization and political violence.

The report listed the U.S. crackdown on TikTok as a violation of freedom of speech at a time when the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that could lead to a ban against TikTok.

Several U.S. free speech organizations had pointed out earlier that the potential ban on TikTok would have a serious impact on free speech in the digital domain, which violated the rights of American people according to the First Amendment, said the report.

In recent years, bans on words and books in the U.S. have seriously interfered with freedom of speech on campus, the report said. The censorship of banned books in public schools has expanded rapidly since 2021, it said, adding that between January 2021 and February 2022, Republican lawmakers introduced more than 150 state-level laws that restrict teachers from discussing issues like race and social justice in the classroom and also censor and track teachers' speech.

A survey among 45,000 undergraduates from 208 universities found that 22 percent of students felt they were often unable to speak out on certain issues. Race, gun control, the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-discrimination actions and abortion have all become minefields for discussion and expression, the report noted.

The Foreign Ministry also said the U.S. manipulates freedom of speech in other countries to maintain its hegemony.

Under the guise of "freedom of speech," the U.S. viciously attacks and smears China, the report said, noting that some U.S. politicians have wantonly fabricated false statements such as hyping the "Chinese virus" and "Wuhan virus" narratives.

The report pointed out that in August 2022, the Stanford Internet Observatory revealed a network of interconnected accounts on social media platforms that use deception to promote pro-Western rhetoric in regions such as the Middle East and Central Asia, touting the U.S. government, and attacking and smearing countries such as China, Russia and Iran. Some accounts also use artificial intelligence technology to create fake personal profiles and spread disinformation.

"In the international arena, the United States is daydreaming about continuing to speak for all, obstructing the democratization of international relations with hegemonic practices, destroying international public opinion environment with smear campaigns, and deluding the international community with self-glorified images and high-sounding rhetoric," said the report.

(Cover: Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, China. /CFP)

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