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This Week at Index: China - 70 years of regressive free speech curbs
04 Oct 2019
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP
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Friday 4 October 2019
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CHINA: 70 years of regressive free speech curbs
Oct 1, 1949: In front of 300,000 people in Tiananmen Square, Mao Zedong, chairman of the Central People's Government, proclaims the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Photo: Hou Bo via Wikimedia Commons
Index has covered censorship in China since 1973. While the government’s approach has evolved in today’s digital era, in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, key themes surrounding the suppression of political dissent and free expression remain as pressing as ever. Explore them in this reading list from the Index on Censorship archives featuring prominent Chinese academics, activists and writers.

Jemimah Steinfeld, deputy editor, Index on Censorship: "While China marks the occasion of 70 years of Communist rule this week, we want to highlight our reporting of the free speech violations that have occurred in the country over the decades. This is particularly important today as under the current leader Xi Jinping there has been an intense narrowing of free speech and civil society."
2018: "A book on Tiananmen would be impossible to research today"
Applications for our programme Free Speech is for Me have now closed, and we will be contacting the successful applicants very soon. This is a new programme from Index: we will offer six people in the US and six in the UK both training and mentoring. The aim is to broaden the group of people who speak publicly in the media and other platforms about censorship and freedom of expression, to help show that freedom of expression is for everyone. Free speech has been critical to social movements throughout history. It has consistently been used as a powerful tool for marginalised groups to articulate their grievances and demand to be heard. But, today discussions surrounding “free speech” have unfortunately been dominated by a small number of people. 
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NGOs renew call of justice for Khashoggi
Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, 2018, to obtain documents in order to get married, but he did not make it out alive. He was killed inside the consulate in what the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, called a “premeditated extrajudicial killing” for which the state of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible. Read the full story
Index calls for release of Tanzanian journalist Erick Kabendera
Imprisoned for two months awaiting trial, his case is postponed for the sixth time. “Index is extremely concerned about Erick's health and at the growing threats to media in Tanzania,” said Jodie Ginsberg, Index on Censorship chief executive. Read the full story
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Al Alvarez poet, critic, poker player 1929-2019

From 1956 he was the po­etry ed­i­tor of the Ob­server and in­tro­duced readers to Zbig­niew Her­bert and Miroslav Holub from East­ern Europe; John Ber­ry­man and Sylvia Plath from Amer­ica."I adore what you can do with lan­guage. But I’ve al­ways worked on the sup­po­si­tion that I’m only go­ing to have one go at this planet and I just want to try what’s on of­fer. That seems to me more im­por­tant than any­thing else. I ac­tu­ally do be­lieve that it’s more im­por­tant to live de­cently.” Obituary: The ArtsDesk.com

Al Alvarez died last last week and his family have kindly asked that, instead of flowers, people make donations in his name to Index on Censorship. You can do so here
And finally. What the...

Why is swearing offensive? Is fuck only a swearword as we all agreed it is? Are there benefits of swearing? Would the regulation of swearing compromise the freedom of expression of those being regulated? Read the full story

Photo: Jonathan Rolande
Index on Censorship defends people's freedom to express themselves without fear of harm or persecution. We publish censored writers and artists, monitor and campaign against censorship, and encourage debate.  

We rely on donations from readers and supporters. By donating to Index you help us to protect freedom of expression and to support those who are denied that right.
 
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