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Full text – 'Freedom of Speech' in the United States: Truth and Facts


The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday released a report titled "'Freedom of Speech' in the United States: Truth and Facts." Here is the full text of the report.

"Freedom of speech" in the United States: Truth and Facts

March 2024  



Freedom of speech in the United States is not worthy of the name

The United States violates freedom of speech at home

The United States manipulates freedom of speech in foreign countries



The United States has long purported its freedom of speech and pursued double standards, covering up domestic political manipulation and social injustice with empty political slogans and a hypocritical moral mask of so-called "freedom of speech." At home in the United States, political fights trample on free speech, press interference threatens free speech, and social media violates free speech. 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.

This report, by presenting numerous facts, aims to expose what  "free speech" is according to the United States, what the U.S. actually does, and what its real purpose is.

I. Freedom of speech in the United States is not worthy of the name

◆The United States regards freedom of speech as the foundation of the country, but treads on it under the feet of political reality. Although the First Amendment to the US Constitution explicitly stipulates "freedom of speech," political disputes and group interests have been constantly taking advantage of the form of "freedom of speech" to damage its essence. The public do not feel free to speak truthfully and gradually see through and get tired of politicians' hypocritical slogans and promises.

◆The Knight Foundation of the United States released its Free Speech in America After 2020 survey report in 2022, which was rated as "representing the most comprehensive public opinion study on free speech at present" by the US Free Speech Center. The report noted that political polarization and party strife have severely undermined free speech in the United States, especially on political issues.

◆The freedom of speech in the United States has fallen in recent years. In a 2022 national poll conducted by The New York Times and Siena College, 66 percent of participants say they do not believe that Americans enjoy free speech. Eight percent also say Americans don't have any freedom of speech. In recent years, due to political polarization and political violence, people have become more cautious or even reticent when talking about political topics, fearing attacks and reprisals. While 46 percent said that American society is far less free to talk about politics compared with a decade ago. Many people talk about as little as possible or even evade political topics. Women are more cautious than men, and younger people more cautious than older ones. Some young people have been severely criticized and even retaliated against for certain political remarks.

◆Restrictions on free speech are quite common across the United States. Most states have bad performance on respecting free speech and the right to assembly, according to the 2022 US State Free Speech Index report by the Free Speech Institute. Only three states – Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa – scored more than 70 percent, and 35 states scored less than 50 percent.

◆The United States is flooded with false information, which further erodes its credibility in terms of free speech. During the 2016 presidential election, political groups used media to spread disinformation to interfere in elections, with fake news websites receiving as much as 159 million visits, equivalent to 0.64 visits per American adult, according to a research study conducted by Stanford University. The Brookings Institution's report, Disinformation is Eroding Public Confidence in Democracy, released in 2022, noted that minorities are more susceptible to disinformation, and 51.5 percent of respondents believe that the black American community is the target. In recent years, discussion of election fraud and spread of disinformation have further reduced American confidence in free speech.

II. The United States violates freedom of speech at home

◆Political fights trample on freedom of speech. It is not a secret that the US government monitors domestic public opinion. Carl Bernstein, a well-known journalist who exposed the 1972 Watergate scandal, revealed in detail the collusion between CIA and the press. The New York Times, Time Weekly, CBS and other media have close ties and cooperate with CIA to monitor public opinion.

◆False information is used to manipulate public opinion and interfere with speech. The Cato Institute report noted that "if American people expect the media to provide accurate and neutral information on government policy, it will be a big mistake." The U.S. government colludes with media and often disseminates various information under the cover of media, in order to achieve political objectives. In March 2022, The New York Times published an editorial titled There is a Freedom of Speech Problem in America, pointing out that the U.S. society is caught in a cycle of left and right attacking each other and that freedom of speech in the U.S. is a thing of the past. In April 2022, the Biden administration announced the establishment of a committee aimed at combating disinformation about population and infrastructure in the U.S., which met with fierce opposition from Republican members in the U.S. Congress and the right-wing media. Republican lawmakers claimed that the administration is using taxpayers' money to suppress free speech in the conservative news media under the guise of cracking down on disinformation. The committee was shut down after only three weeks in existence due to objections from the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Freedom of speech in the United States today is more like a ball kicked about by the parties than a right in the hands of people.

◆The US government manipulates epidemic information and suppresses truth-telling voices. Helen Zhu, a female doctor of Chinese descent who warned about the epidemic in the United States and reported the test results, was given a gag order by the administration. Captain Crozier, who told the truth about the epidemic on the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt, was sacked. Some officials in the State Department and Defense Department, who dared to speak the truth, have all been laid off. Fauci, an infectious disease expert known as the U.S. "anti-epidemic captain," has "disappeared" many times.

◆Freedom of speech in the United States has a problem of racial discrimination. The perception of free speech among white groups is significantly stronger than black groups where freedom of speech is more restricted. Tracing back the U.S. history, freedom of speech has never been fully and equally applied to the black community, and state governments have used discretion to suppress rights of the black community for a long time. The black community is often treated differently when it comes to free speech. In June 2023, Justice Earls – the only African American woman justice on North Carolina’s Supreme Court – was investigated by the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission after she disclosed in an interview that there was a lack of racial and gender diversity in the local judicial system and she was treated differently by her colleagues on account of race and gender. In February of 2024, Margaret Satterthwaite,the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers,commented that the commission’s disciplinary investigations of the only African American woman justice in the state raised suspicions of racial and gender discrimination.

◆U.S. government has been cracking down on TikTok. Before the House Energy and Commerce Committee held the TikTok hearing in March 2023, several US free speech organizations, including the Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the Coalition Against Censorship, jointly signed an open letter. It pointed out that the ban on TikTok would have a serious impact on free speech in digital domain, which violated the rights of American people according to the First Amendment. The crackdown has set a worrying precedent by damaging freedom of more than 150 million TikTok American users on the platform. The US government has turned a deaf ear to these calls and is determined to clamp down on TikTok.

◆Press intervention threatens free speech. In recent years, freedom of the press in the United States has been significantly impacted, and working environment for journalists has deteriorated. CNN correspondent Jim Acosta has been stripped of his White House press credentials for asking about "caravan migrants" and "access to Russia" during a White House press briefing. Some senior government officials have also threatened and attacked news media members. The Washington Post, New York Times and other media pointed out that these words and deeds had increased journalists` security risks and severely impacted press freedom. The United States government also restricts the coverage of news events by media. In 2021, a number of journalists were harassed or harmed by police while reporting on popular protests against the police killings of George Floyd and Dawn Wright. According to the US Freedom of the Press Tracker, there were 128 incidents of press freedom violations across the US in 2022, including 40 attacks on journalists and 15 arrests or prosecutions. In 2023, at least 12 journalists in the United States were arrested or charged, and several were criminally convicted for normal news reporting.

◆Campus control suppresses freedom of speech. In recent years, various bans on words and books in the United States have seriously interfered with freedom of speech on campus. Censorship of banned books in public schools has expanded rapidly since 2021, and lawmakers in some states have introduced "educational gag orders." 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. In 2022, the Individual Rights and Expression Foundation surveyed nearly 45,000 undergraduates from 208 universities, and found that 22 percent of students felt they were often unable to speak out on certain issues. Race, gun control, the coronavirus pandemic, anti-discrimination actions and abortion have all become minefields for discussion and expression. Alliance Defending Freedom holds the belief that public schools in the United States are currently suppressing freedom of speech by establishing "free speech zone," using vague and misleading policies, forcing teachers and students to express certain information, and punishing faculty members who fail to "behave well" in terms of free speech.

◆Social media infringes on freedom of speech. Interest groups have lobbied governments and media companies to regulate social media and suppress unfavorable speech. Internal documents released by Twitter show that US Biotech Innovation Group sent letters to the U.S. government and Twitter on behalf of pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Modena, AstraZeneca and others, demanding to review users who have called on Twitter to offer low-priced vaccines and share intellectual property and patents in order to maintain their monopoly on COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. media have reported that financial tycoon George Soros used hundreds of millions of dollars to bribe hundreds of networks related to the U.S. media between 2016 and 2020 to build his own media network and thus achieve public opinion manipulation.

◆Social media and the interest groups it represented block free speech. The New York Post reported on March 30, 2023, that Twitter removed nearly 5,000 tweets about "transgender protests" outside the US Supreme Court, citing "incitement to violence." As more and more users expressed doubts about deleting tweets, Twitter changed its excuse, saying the deletion was due to the system's automated identification and deletion process without considering the specific content of the tweet. More shockingly, Twitter instead suspended The Washington Post's Twitter account after it reported massive deletion of tweets on its Twitter account. The New York Post  commented Twitter's move to ban The Washington Post is "seriously inconsistent with its declared free speech."

III. The United States manipulates freedom of speech in foreign countries

◆To maintain its hegemony, the United States often manipulates international public opinion, adding "rationality" and "moral sense" to its foreign policy. The United States also uses social media to launch psychological warfare, along with military operations in other countries, and suppress all kinds of anti-war rhetoric. It uses freedom of speech to practice double standards, creates a smokescreen and claims that other countries are spreading "false information," while it publishes various distorted and discrediting reports based on false information, to divert the attention of the international community from misdeeds of the United States. On May 4, 2022, U.S. Senator Rand Paul spoke bluntly at a Senate hearing, "Do you know who the greatest propagator of disinformation in the history of the world is? The U.S. government."

◆During the Cold War, the United States government established three media organizations, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, to carry out public opinion warfare and implement peaceful evolution. Since the 1980s, with the rapid development of the Internet, the United States has exploited its technological advantages and mainly targeted young people to spread American ideology, values and cultural products through the Internet. The U.S. manipulated international public opinion, influenced or even directly incited the people of relevant countries to confront the government. On February 25, 2022, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton incited U.S. hackers to launch cyber attacks against Russia in an interview. She said, “We could be also attacking a lot of the government institutions and oligarchs and their way of life through cyber attacks. We did some of that during the Arab Spring when I was Secretary of State."

◆The US government uses social media to fabricate war lies to justify foreign interference. In 2019, the Washington Post exposed a federal program government document that included interviews with more than 400 key figures involved in the war in Afghanistan, including US military sources, diplomats, military contractors, Afghan officials and others. The documents show that the US government tried to cover up the comments of the respondents and hide evidence that the war was unwinnable, and that senior officials never told the public the truth during the 18-year war in Afghanistan, making it difficult for the people to obtain true information. A 2008 document released by the National Security Archive revealed that the Bush administration had strengthened the charges against Iraq by pressuring the intelligence community and selectively releasing evidence favorable to the government's position, to legitimize the war. The document also mentions several instances of such "politicization of intelligence." For example, people involved say that if a CIA staff provided different information from what the Bush administration wanted , his career would be at risk. The facts after the war in Iraq indicate that Iraq has not been found to have weapons of mass destruction or be associated with Al-Qaida. In the United States, widespread suspicion and criticism of the government's manipulation of public opinion and misleading of the people arose.

◆The U.S. military uses social media to manipulate topics and deceptive propaganda to influence other countries' perceptions. US Central Command had signed a software development agreement with a California-based software company to manipulate social media through fake online personas and influence people in Middle Eastern countries. In 2022, Twitter released internal documents to the website "The Intercept," exposing the US military's use of social media to carry out disinformation campaigns justifying its indiscriminate killing of citizens of other countries. The Defense Department had developed a "white list" that would require Twitter to prioritize services for the agencies on the list. Central Command official Nathaniel Kahle requested Twitter in July 2017 to prioritize six US government Arabic-language accounts that promoted "the precision of US drone military strikes in Yemen, with terrorists, not civilians, being killed."

◆The United States prides itself on "freedom of speech," while it applies double standards to other countries. In August 2022, the Stanford Internet Observatory released a study titled Unheard Voices: Evaluating Five Years of Pro-Western Covert Influence Operations. It revealed a network of interconnected accounts on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that use deception to promote pro-Western rhetoric in regions such as the Middle East and Central Asia, touting the US government, 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. The United States also uses various means to "silence" foreign media. Russian mainstream media such as RT TV and Sputnik News Agency have been banned from the United States and Europe. Russian official accounts have been restricted by platforms such as Twitter, Russian channels and mobile apps have been removed from Apple and Google App stores. Russia-related content is subject to extreme scrutiny.

◆The United States, under the guise of "freedom of speech," viciously attacks and smears China. Some US politicians have not only wantonly fabricated false statements such as hyping up "Chinese virus" and "Wuhan virus," and other untrue remarks, but also attacked media reports that objectively reflected China's fight against the pandemic. According to U.S. media reports, the White House published an article on its official website criticizing the media for taking U.S. taxpayers' money to "promote China." NBC and CNN have also been accused by the White House of "China's puppet" and "public enemy" for affirming China's anti-epidemic performance in their reports.

◆American media has one-sided interpretation of news events and malicious coverage of China-related news. The U.S. media interpreted the withdrawal of American universities from the World University and Professional Rankings as a righteous act against the tyranny of American higher education, but interpreted the withdrawal of some Chinese universities from the world rankings as China's "closed-door policy" in the field of science. Some US politicians and media denounced the US people's siege of the Capitol over the presidential election as riots. The street violence in Hong Kong, China,however, has been glorified as "the pursuit of democracy and freedom" and "the beautiful sight."

◆The U.S. pursues a double standard of freedom of speech in the Internet field, stigmatizing China as "digital authoritarianism," and calling India "the digital Internet shutdown capital." At the same time, it promoted the formation of the "Internet Future Alliance," which claimed to build "an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable and secure future" while excluding China, Russia and other countries. In doing so,the US attempts to form a closed and exclusive small circle and create a digital divide and bloc confrontation in the Internet field.

◆The United States uses "freedom of speech and press" to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and subvert their regimes. In 1970, under the guise of "freedom of the press," CIA launched a large-scale smear campaign against the Chilean government of Allende, scouting about for newspapers and magazines outside Chile to publish articles that attacked and smeared Allende. It also supported the opposition to seize media platforms, instigated anti-government actions, and collaborated with political forces such as the Chilean military and the Organization of American States and other Latin American countries to eventually topple Allende's government.

◆The U.S. instigates color revolutions with the help of "freedom of speech." Taking advantage of the instability of some newly independent countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it supported and used the media to advocate Western democracy, to produce and disseminate negative news about local governments and leaders, and to help the opposition promote political rhetoric. For example, the establishment of "information centers for democracy" in Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan was publicly announced to assist in the development of local "independent media", and to influence and promote the "democratization process" in those countries. During Kyrgyzstan's parliamentary elections, the U.S.-backed Aztec radio station trumpeted opposition and pro-Western views to shape public opinion for regime change.

◆American social networking sites spread a large number of false information to hinder the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government's efforts to fight the Ebola epidemic. In 2018, following another Ebola outbreak in the DRC, social media such as Twitter and Facebook spread suspicions saying that the outbreak did not exist and questioning the government's rhetoric about its response to the disease, which caused severe disruption to the local fight against the Ebola epidemic. A 2019 study in the medical journal The Lancet noted that false information had led a quarter of locals to believe Ebola did not exist and a third to believe the virus was only used to destabilize the region.

◆American international journalists often suffer unwarranted repression. According to U.S. media reports, in June 2010, Helen Thomas, a well-known journalist aged 89, was asked to comment on Israel when she attended a White House celebration of Jewish American History Month. She was forced to terminate her career as she replied, "Get the hell out of Palestine." In May 2021, Associated Press reporter Emily Wilder was fired for "violating social media policy" for posting pro-Palestinian tweets. In February 2023, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, released an investigation revealing that the U.S. government was behind the bombing of the Nord Stream gas pipeline. U.S. national security council spokesman declared that Hersh's article about the Biden administration blowing up the Nord Stream pipeline was false information and pure fabrication, and attacked Hersh.


Freedom of speech in the United States is one for domestic politicians and interest groups, and another for ordinary people. It is one way of saying and doing things about the United States, and another way of saying and doing things about other countries. The United States issued a report to baselessly smear and accuse other countries of spreading "disinformation," but the United States is the source of disinformation and the command post of "cognitive warfare" throughout the world. Today's world is not at a time when a lie repeated thousands of times can become the truth, or smearing others can whitewash oneself. The eyes of the people of the world are bright. No matter how the United States propagates its freedom of speech, and how it spares no effort to blame other countries for spreading "false information,"  it cannot change the fact that more and more people are seeing through the ugly practices of the United States: how it relies on lies to weave "the emperor's new clothes," and how it smears others to maintain its hegemony.

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