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UCL events news and reviews


Fighting for freedom of expression in China and beyond

By ucyow3c, on 18 March 2014

pencil-iconWritten by Dylan Brethour (UCL History MA student)

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental, universal and transnational right, only to be restricted in extremis.”

Chinese newspaper The World Journal. Credit Flickr user Canadian Pacific: http://www.flickr.com/photos/18378305@N00/

Chinese newspaper the World Journal.
Credit: http://bit.ly/1gtFahG

So began John Kampfner’s portion of “China and Freedom of Speech: new systems for accountability in the press”. Kampfner, a journalist and former Chief Executive of the Index on Censorship, set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Organised by UCL’s China Centre for Health & Humanity and Centre for Transnational History, the event was introduced Dr Axel Korner and Dr Vivienne Lo and included presentations and a subsequent discussion by Professor Zhengxiao Guo, Dr Lily Chang, and Mr Stephen Perry.

Despite some differences among the panellists, there was a common sense that no country can afford the luxury of indifference in the maintenance of something so essential as freedom of expression.

While China was the locus of the discussion, all of the participants touched on broader global threats to freedom of expression. Kampfner discussed some of the methods governments use to disguise restrictive measures.