Free speech cannot be allowed to jeopardize China’s governance
Published: Feb 09, 2021 10:08 PM

Clubhouse file photo:VCG

US social audio app Clubhouse has suddenly been chased after by some Chinese people. A chat room that focuses on parodying me has especially become hot today. However, although some people are discussing Clubhouse, it's only popular among a small group. 

It must be admitted that a small number of Chinese have extremely high requirements for "freedom of speech." But their desires cannot be satisfied in reality. In China, arrangements surrounding free speech must be compatible with China's governance system. The free speech cannot impact or jeopardize the country's governance. This is the bottom line. People need to have a basic knowledge and understanding of this fact. 

It's impossible for completely uncontrolled online speech forums to emerge in China under the current conditions. Our society needs to constantly explore how to make internet speech platforms subject to legal supervision while at the same time having enough space to voice opinions and carry out public opinion supervision. There is much room for us to achieve such a constructive scenario.  

US social networks banned the account of former US president Donald Trump as well as the accounts supposedly from the Chinese mainland. Internet services were temporarily suspended in some parts of New Delhi amid farmers' protests. All these tell people that the freedom of the internet in every society has a bottom line.

China's governance system has brought decades of rapid development and people's well-being. We must understand the role of such governance in managing the opinion sphere. Supporting the freedom of speech should also be one of the goals of this governance mode. Joint efforts by government institutions and the public are needed to explore the balance.

People often said I am too idealistic because this cannot be achieved. But I'd like to say that during China's rejuvenation process, we must make historic explorations and do things that other countries cannot. To make article 1 and article 35 of the Constitution fully coordinated will be one of the most important indicators of China's success.

The author is editor-in-chief of the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn