Today, in Bullock 103W, another presentation focused on China, but with a different perspective on human rights. Lan Mei ’14 focused on censorship and the press in China. She noted that the Chinese government has a sort of “schizophrenia” about the press. On the one hand, while their constitution claims freedom of the press, there are active efforts within the Chinese government to protect what they call “state secrets.” This is done through pressuring media outlets to remove and not report on sensitive political matters, as well as providing state press releases for newspapers to release. Some liberal newspapers release these as a form of mocking the government.
While much of the presentation was interesting, it was incredibly text-heavy, and Lan Mei did not get as much of a chance to interact with her audience because of this. However, her personal experience working for a liberal newspaper in China thanks to the Hubert Scholar Program, was very interesting to hear about. She actually wrote articles for these papers, and had to herself dodge censorship with her article about the Xinhau News Agency’s billboard in Times Square. She accomplished this by using raw material; that is, not material from her own point of view, but from an expert on the subject. Although she admitted that other articles she had written had been censored, she pointed out that it is possible to subvert the censorship in China. However, she did conclude with the fact that conservative and liberal newspapers alike in China are still being censored. She hopes to research more on this subject in the future.