Thursday, April 17, 2014
Extreme views also restrict freedom of speech
Global Times | June 01, 2012 00:15
By Global Times
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Opinions expressed on the Internet have shown an increasing tendency of going to the extreme, pressuring those wanting to speak to either criticize the political system or remain silent. The pressure is obvious, given the volume of opinion leaders on the Internet. Dissidents have to be careful in voicing their views.

Freedom of speech has long faced restrictions, first under the powerful control of the government. Now, restrictions from the government are gradually in retreat, especially at where academics gather, such as universities. But pressure from public opinion is rising quickly.

Criticism is seemingly the main tone of cyber opinion. To many, everything in real life is negative, thus every word they utter is full of aggravation. Mainstream society obviously has different opinions of people's lives since most people have benefited from the country's progress.

China's complexity should be the reason for such complex feelings, both positive and negative. But public opinion currently only accepts negative sentiments toward the country.

Some think public opinion swinging to extremes is an effective balance to the official media, and will help build a diversified society. But cyber public opinion is actually suppressing other views. It is also shaping the behavior of many scholars. They are supposed to pursue truth, but have started to bend under the pressure of public opinion.

It is already hard to speak the truth in China. Now this difficulty is facing new challenges. China needs a group of courageous scholars to speak out against unhealthy public opinion, helping to build a value system in accordance with China's reality.

Cyber space has come to dominate China's public opinion, but its value orientation is distanced from real life society. The government needs to reflect. With its influence over public opinion decreasing, certain powerful parts of the public will naturally take up a greater share.

Truth is particularly valuable to today's country. Truth should be based on facts, and should reflect real diversity. But the truth now is twisted. It needs the participation of a wide scope of scholars to reverse it.

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