[Letters] China’s lagging human rights

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[Letters] China’s lagging human rights



Earlier this month, the Chinese government ordered a directive mandating that all personal computers sold inside China include software that can filter out “unhealthy information” from the Internet. This software will allow Beijing to regularly update computers with a list of banned Web sites. The explicit goal, according to the government, is to block out vulgar information, especially pornography, from its citizens.

However, as many free speech advocates believe, the implicit purpose is to restrict further access to Web sites which can cause social disorder in Chinese society, such as social networking sites, search engines and information regarding Tibet, the Tiananmen Square crackdown and other pro-democracy content. These attempts by Beijing to filter out information on the Web are definitely in violation of human rights. Nevertheless, we are no longer surprised by these actions.

China has without doubt succeeded in gaining economic power in the last few decades with help from its import of market-based economic policies. Despite becoming a world power in the global economy, however, China still remains underdeveloped, in terms of social conditions, especially human rights.

The Chinese government is infamous for censoring and distorting information on the Internet as well as other media, severely violating human rights. According to the Human Rights Report, an annual publication by the U.S. Department of State, the Chinese government “tightened restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, particularly in anticipation of and during sensitive events, including increased efforts to control and censor the Internet.”

Recently in his visit to Japan, the Dalai Lama criticized Beijing for “acting like a child,” and urged the nation to pursue trust and transparency.

If China truly wishes to become a developed nation, it must learn to treat its people like human beings.

Cho Yong-kyu, Student at Gyeonggi Academy of Foreign Languages
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