Mao furor shows truth of US free speech

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-3-31 23:53:02

The National Center for Education Statistics under the US Department of Education found itself in some trouble recently. On March 22, it pulled a quote from former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, which read, "Our attitude toward ourselves should be 'to be insatiable in learning' and toward others 'to be tireless in teaching'." Some US senators demanded that the department explain why they cited the words of a communist. The quote was reportedly replaced by one from Abraham Lincoln.

The US, which prides itself in freedom of speech, can't even tolerate a quote from Mao. It shows how narrow-minded the American political system is in the face of the diversity of global culture.

It would not be a problem if words from an American president or even Douglas MacArthur, an anti-communist general, were published in Chinese media nowadays.

Conversely, when Mao's quote appeared on a US website, it stirred up huge controversy.

All countries have their boundaries for freedom of speech. It is the same with the US and we understand that. This incident reminds us how determined the US is to maintain social cohesion in a diverse environment. US elites not only maintain a high alert on fragmented ideas in society, but are also sensitive to maintaining an "American consensus."

American media are independent from the government in terms of ownership, but they are not in opposition to the government. The communication between the government and media is quite established, which is something the Chinese public is unfamiliar with.

The power of the US makes it able to define "freedom of speech" on a global scale based on its own standards. In other words, the US can set the boundaries for freedom of speech, while other countries will be deemed treacherous if they do the same.

We are not defending China's own problems in terms of freedom of speech. China still has a long way to go in promoting a transparent system. Reforms in China's freedom of speech need to be carried out steadily.

The US can offer experience for China's reforms, but cannot be a model to be worshipped in all its aspects. As a rising civilized body, China should be able to see the US as an equal. It can follow its achievements, and can also see through its shortcomings.

Mao was a pioneer of the new global geopolitics. Americans will acknowledge this man sooner or later when they overcome their narrow-mindedness.

Posted in: Editorial

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