Freedom of Expression: The Chinese Government's Perspective

In November 2003, the online version of China's Official People's Daily carried a report discussing statements made by Liu Binjie, Deputy Director of China's General Administration for Press and Publication. According to the article:

Speaking about regulating the public behavior of China's media, Liu Binjie said: "Currently China is one of the world's countries richest in freedom of speech and freedom of publication. Those outside of China who make claims about China's news, expression, and press are completely without support."

The facts Deputy Director Liu provided to support for these claims were following:

[C]urrently Mainland China (not including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) has 2119 newspapers, 9038 magazines, 568 book publishing houses, 290 audio/visual publishing houses, 1969 news radio and television broadcasting agencies (broadcasting 1789 radio programs and 2322 television programs), and 150 news Websites.

The implication appears to be that "many Publications = Freedom of the Press."

What the story neglects to mention is that every one of these thousands of publications and publishers is subject to direct editorial control by Chinese authorities. Furthermore, every publisher has to be approved and licensed by the Chinese government, and China's law requires that every book about China's government or the Communist Party be reviewed and approved by government censors.

Learn More

A list of Chinese laws and regulations that prohibit Chinese people from exercising their right to publish, including excerpts from relevant sections, is available in Chinese and English here.