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Recent developments in and about China have been quite unprecedented. First, Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Following ths award, 23 prominent members of the Chinese Communist Party wrote a letter blasting the Chinese government’s clampdown on free expression.
The Guardian, the signatories to the letter include Li Rui, the former secretary to revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, and other retired high officials in state media and the propaganda apparatus who were once themselves responsible for enforcing strict censorship.
Then in an
interview by Fareed Zakaria, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said: “I believe freedom of speech is indispensible for any country, a country in the course of development and a country that has become strong.”
This comment drew criticism from the
People’s Daily, the main Chinese Communist Party newspaper saying any changes in China’s political system should not emulate Western democracies, but “consolidate the party’s leadership so that the party commands the overall situation.”
All these developments are certainly observed with great excitement by democrats and free speech proponents all over the world. At a time where there are still those who advocate the idea of Asian values, the developments in China is a reaffirmation of the universality of human rights.
Political freedom is indeed the inalienable rights of human beings anywhere they may be regardless of skin color and religion.
Yet, the PAP continues to propagate the nonsensical argument that Asians don’t subscribe to the universal values of human rights as described in the Universal Decalaration of Human Rights by the the United Nations.
Channel News Asia quoted “One, a system that fits societal values; two, one that can deliver an effective and honest government; and three, a system that provides security, jobs and prosperity for the people.
The developments in China is watched closely by people all over the world who yearn for freedom. The PAP’s Asian values propaganda is looking more and more obsolete given that the Prime Minister of China himself agrees that freedom of speech is a universal right and not something to be dismissed as a Western idea.
Shamin is a member of the Young Democrats. He completed a stint as an intern at the European Parliament earlier this year.