Thankful for the freedom to press ‘Enter’


Nowadays, just about everyone has some sort of a blog. Whether it’s light and fluffy with details about fashion or sepia-toned shots of food, or a bit deeper and serious with commentary regarding controversial issues, everyone with access to the Internet reveals who they are and what they believe.

Even if someone doesn’t have a specific blog per se, he or she is bound to have a Facebook profile, Twitter, Youtube, or Instagram account — all Web sites that let you share your opinions, personalities, thoughts, and just about anything else (yes, even the fact that you just worked out at the gym or that your niece does look pretty adorable with those bunny ears on.)

But what if you truly had to think before you pressed the Enter key?

Yesterday I came across an article on BBC about a journalist in China who was just arrested for posting about the alleged corruption of some government officials on his blog.

I immediately thought back to all the times I’ve been scrolling on my Facebook home feed and found countless posts criticizing the government. From “I wish the people in government could let go of their egos and come to an agreement” to “OBAMA SUCKS I’M MOVIN TOO CANADA.”

No matter the post, no matter the content, no matter the truth or the falsity, no matter the, ahem, spelling errors…everyone in the United States is allowed to speak their minds, provided they are not endangering anybody by doing so.

Unfortunately, the same does not go for the people in China.

After posting corruption details of some high-ranking officials onto his blog, Liu Hu, who works for the Guangzhou-based newspaper New Express, was taken by police from his home in August and was then formally arrested at the end of September. When Hu was detained by police, his posts were deleted.

Charged with defamation, analysts call the charge a speech crime, and say it is part of the government’s recent campaign to tighten control over the Internet.

The new Internet guidelines are meant to crack down on “rumor-mongering.” Many believe it is a tool being used by the ruling Communist Party to cut down criticism and control internet opinions and rumors.

In a separate case, four people were arrested for posting about government dissatisfaction on a social media forum. Several other journalists as well as a high-profile blogger have also been arrested for allegedly spreading rumors online.

Obama memeRemember when President Obama was elected and people wrote posts and made memes calling him an “Islamic terrorist”? And then all those people were arrested and charged for doing so?

Yeah, me either.

So keep posting my fellow Internet-users, because whether it’s regarding your criticism of the government or your cat wearing hipster glasses, you’re safe. You’re free.

Imagine going to jail for posting this on your Facebook page.

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