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Posts Tagged ‘freedom of assembly’

Free Speech Definitely Doesn’t Mean Cost Notwithstanding Speech

February 17th, 2016 1 comment

The recent post by pugster about rioters in Hong Kong brought to my mind some thoughts I had as the Umbrella Revolution was flaming out a couple of years ago.

One of the arguments many people in the West used to denigrate the HK and Mainland government in support of the Umbrella movement was that the rioters had a right to block streets and shut down districts to get their message out.  When some Hong Kongers – siding with HK and Mainland government – pushed back that while freedom of speech grants them the right to protest but not a right to shut down entire districts, they were ridiculed and shamed by the Western press.

Of course, as we know, when the occupy movement flamed across the Western capitals of the world, those governments acted very differently.  The police (even paramilitary forces) soon cracked down and order was soon restored.  But in China, so-called rule of law quickly gets tossed aside in the name of mob rule (I mean “democracy”).  All this reinforced in my mind how “political” “free” speech is.  It is “free” when the politics is palatable.  But when it’s not, the “costs” – be it national security, social peace, whatever – gets framed as the main (only) issues.

This reminds me of another story last year when the Pope visited the U.S.  If people remember, the pope got a “rock star” reception from the media – with the press trumpeting how popular, socially and morally in tune the pope is, especially compared to China’s President Xi (also visiting the U.S. around the same time) who allegedly got a stiff and cool reception. Read more…

Who Are You Calling a Police State and Other Urgent Matters

February 8th, 2012 9 comments

It’s a long running joke that many in the West continue to misleadingly characterize China as a police state. In the run up to the Olympics, there are people who mocked Chinese efforts to provide for a safe and successful Olympics – even though massive security efforts now appear to be quite routine in the West (see e.g., 2002 Olympics2004 Olympics, 2006 Olympics2010 Olympics2012 Olympics).

It’s easy to accuse others. After all, as a well-known verse from the Christian Bible says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” But isn’t this going a bit too far?

Recently, FAIR had an interesting article about the militarizing of the police in the U.S. and the aggressive tactics taken by police against the Occupy protesters throughout the nation.

[P]olice forces in various cites took a militarized, increasingly coordinated approach to the movement that began as Occupy Wall Street, reporters were frequently treated as the enemy—with tactics designed to prevent them from documenting exactly how activists were being removed from public spaces. Read more…