The west loves to criticize China for its lack of freedom of expression. I personally think that this is a serious problem for China (though not the most serious problem facing the society which I consider problems with social justice and the environment). But the west has serious issues with freedom of expression as well.
The US has sent its own people to prison in recent years for making youtube videos, selling cable subscriptions and even assassinated without trial two citizens for nothing ostensibly more than making recruitment videos or writing articles for al Qaeda.
Despite the above violations of peoples’ freedom of expression, the US is actually rather good in protecting its citizens compared to many European nations, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
Consider that in much of Europe , you can be sent to prison for a considerable amount of time for things like “holocaust denial.” Or be jailed for teaching your dog to give the Nazi salute. Yet you will rarely if ever hear human rights organizations complain about people imprisoned for expressing their views on these subjects. Many western countries have laws against “hate speech.” Many people have been sentenced to prison for making hate speech in these countries.
Additionally, many western nations have royal families and it is sometimes against their laws to publicly insult them. People have been arrested for “insults” against these bluebloods such as the recent cases of a homeless man calling Queen Beatrix a “whore” and a journalist for wearing a t-shirt with the slogan “Beatrix is a whore”.
Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to prison for things like advocating that China and the whole world ought to be colonized by the US. As much as I think he is a despicable individual, he should have the right to say those despicable things. People in the west and their human rights organizations should make the same arguments that you also have the right to be a holocaust denier or give the Nazi solute or teach one’s dog to give the salute or post racist hate messages or insult bluebloods or to offend homosexuals or make offensive youtube videos without prison time or fines. These are things they cannot do in many western nations without doing serious time. Unfortunately, the west does not see these laws as human rights abuses but does see the jailing of Liu for advocating colonization of his own country as such violations or abuses. In their minds, these violations, so long as they are committed by the west, are not worthy of attention.
Move along, nothing to see here!