... the government of China doesn't claim that nothing happened. There is an official narrative, including the claim that soldiers working for the government of China were victims of protesters.

Given that the government of China acknowledges that something happened on June 4th, 1989, and given that there are living eyewitnesses who were there, what is the legal basis for the government of China to stifle discussion of that topic?

For example, suppose that some people decide that research and study and formulating questions is too risky on the topic of what happened on June 4th, 1989. Nevertheless, there is an official narrative, so people should be able to memorize the official narrative word-for-word and hold competitions reciting that narrative. Also, students in all grades in school in China could refrain from answering any questions on examinations in mathematics, unless they were already provided with an answer to exactly the same question, and they could compete to recite the official answer, word-for-word.

Would such actions risk penalties under laws of China? Are people in China required by law to go beyond repeating the officially correct answer to questions that they have already seen in mathematics, but forbidden to go beyond the official narrative on the topic of events in Tiananmen Square on June 4th, 1989?

1 Answer 1


Chinese citizens have the privilege of free speech

The Chinese legal system is from a completely different tradition to the Civil and Common law traditions that trace their roots to Roman and Germanic law. Over the past 1500 years, these systems have gradually been asserting that the sovereign is subject to rather than above the law.

Chinese law on the other hand is subservient to the sovereign - the Chinese Communist Party. The law exists explicitly to advance and protect the interests of the CCP, not Chinese citizens. Discussion of the events of June 4 1989 is not in the interest of the CCP so its not legal.

Examples of law relating to freedom of expression in Chinese and English can be found here. Of particular relevance are the Regulations on the Administration of Publishing:

Article 5: All levels of the People's Government shall ensure that citizens are able to legally exercise their right to freedom of publication. When citizens exercise their right to freedom of publication they shall abide by the Constitution and laws, shall not oppose the basic principles confirmed in the Constitution, and shall not harm the interests of the country, the society or the collective or the legal freedoms and rights of other citizens.

Basically, you are free to say whatever you like unless the CCP doesn't like it.

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