The Global Times (Chinese version) published an editorial about Yu Jie’s departure from China to the U.S. on January 20. The following is a partial translation of the text. CDT thanks the translator who wishes to remain anonymous.
The Chinese “dissident writer” Yu Jie who “fled” to America held a press conference in Washington DC on the 18th, and related his story of being “forced” to leave China, and criticized the Chinese government’s controls over his speech, and other “dark aspects” of China’s society. Its true that this is probably how he personally feels, but its also true that his personal feelings do not conform with the overwhelming majority of people in China.
As far as the issue of speech is concerned, in recent years there are two groups that felt the effects most deeply. One group comprises hundreds of millions of Internet users, and the Internet has opened a completely new environment for speech and a new platform for expressing opinions. There is a world of difference between their freedom of speech on the Internet and in Chinese society of yesteryear. While occasionally their online speech may be subject to keyword restrictions, nevertheless, they have all kinds of means of skirting them.
It may not be the government’s desire to provide these freedoms, but the overall facts are taking shape: it is inevitable that the Internet will bring about open speech for China.
But there is another group, and there’s not many of them, and one could even say there’s very few of them. The books filled with their keenly felt opinions cannot be published in China, and what they say on the Internet is constantly being deleted. There’s also a certain number of others whose contact with the outside world has been restricted. They adopt a hostile attitude towards today’s China, and because of this they have to pay a certain personal price. They don’t deny that they are “antagonistic,” and they demand to the right to remain antagonistic without restriction, and for Chinese law to create a “special zone” for them. But the answer they receive is “no.”