Renee’s presentation about censorship in China was particularly interesting to me due to the fact that I still can’t wrap my head around the topic in general. It amazes me how an entire country filled with an Internet using population of over 700 million is so successfully censored by the government. After this presentation it came to my attention that I have taken my freedom of speech and internet/social media usage for granted here in America. I can’t begin to imagine American millennial culture without freedom of speech, especially in our current political situation.
One specific moment in the presentation that haunts my thoughts is China’s attempt to bury the story of the train wreck by literally burying the entire scene and those still trapped in the train. This is truly frightening because it makes me wonder what other tragic stories they have successfully erased from the world/their citizens by censoring articles and reports in the news. It was nice learning that internet-using activist in China have found loopholes to take advantage of in their insanely censored world. Their use of art and word play is brilliant and opens up the door to a whole new range of discussions through social media, blogs, and other websites.
Reflecting on the actions of these activists, I’m not sure I would be brave enough to risk being sent to jail for a period of time to discuss what the government wants to keep quiet. Although Renee mentioned lawyers often defend these activists by claiming they weren’t trying to make any political statements, just be humorous on the internet, I would still be too afraid the possible consequences. It will be interesting to see what new loopholes activists will get away with next.