Freedom of speech

Pedestrians crossing a street in Taipei, Taiwan, on 25 July 2023. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Taiwan media has freedom of the press but...

Just because Taiwan’s press freedom ranks among the world’s best, it does not mean that there is freedom of speech that allows one to spout whatever one wishes. Nor does it mean that Taiwan’s news would be trustworthy, fair and objective, says former member of Taiwan's Legislative Yuan, Tsai Pi-ru. She compares the situations between Taiwan and Singapore and wonders what would be ideal.
Chinese singer Dao Lang's song Luocha Haishi (罗刹海市, Rakshasa Sea City) has recently gone viral. (Internet)

Why a 'nonsense song' is all the rage in China

Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai gives his take on nonsense songs, from children’s rhymes to the latest viral hit in China — Luocha Haishi by Dao Lang. At first glance, these ditties seem to indulge one’s imaginations, but on closer inspection, they offer commentaries on the world.
The original artwork that appeared in Brick Lane, with the 12 core socialist values. (@yiqueart/Instagram)

No one wants to see China's propaganda slogans in London. Not even as graffiti

A London-based Chinese student’s graffiti has drawn widespread attention, as he painted the 12 core socialist values of the Chinese Communist Party on a wall in Brick Lane. While he denies political significance in the work, many local residents have responded to it by adding their own take, while netizens are debating its meaning. Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk looks at the young student's motivation and its result.
The God of Wealth at Waterloo Street in Singapore (left); Taylor Swift at her Eras Tour in California, 7 August 2023. (Screen shot from Washington Post; Michael Tran/AFP)

Why can't God of Wealth and Taylor Swift exist side by side: Reflecting on Washington Post's article on Lianhe Zaobao

A recent piece in the Washington Post claims that Lianhe Zaobao is a pro-China mouthpiece that lacks its own stand. Lianhe Zaobao’s associate editor Peter Ong examines the paper’s editorial considerations and responds to the Post’s comments.
Li Haoshi, stage name House, got into trouble after a joke about the People's Liberation Army. (Internet)

Can stand-up comedians cross lines and tackle taboos in China?

A Chinese stand-up comedian has landed himself in trouble after cracking a joke seeming to compare the People’s Liberation Army with dogs. Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong finds out why people are up in arms, and if the authorities’ slew of punishment is justified.
Fire damage is seen at the Changfeng Hospital in Beijing on 19 April 2023, after a fire broke out a day earlier. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Beijing hospital fire: Social media silence shows tightening public opinion space in China

A major fire at a hospital in Beijing was shocking, not so much because of its severity, but because of the blanket silence that lasted some seven or eight hours after the event. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong explores the media control and crisis management following the incident.
A photo taken on 31 March 2023 in Manta, near Turin, shows a computer screen with the home page of the artificial intelligence OpenAI web site, displaying its ChatGPT robot. (Marco Bertorello/AFP)

China's self-censoring chatbots face many challenges

Since the release of ChatGPT late last year, Chinese tech companies have been rushing to release their own chatbots. But given the Chinese government’s tight grip on information and speech, how will chatbots developed by Chinese tech companies fare on the world stage?
ChatGPT logo is seen in this illustration taken, 3 February 2023. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

Why ChatGPT has no future in China

Commentator William He explains why while China appears to be at the forefront of AI development, it is almost impossible for it to create a true ChatGPT of its own. At best, it might come up with “ChatGPT with Chinese characteristics”, with perhaps just enough caveats and exceptions to defeat its purpose.
A woman hands out sheet of paper in protest over Covid-19 restrictions in mainland China, during a commemoration of the victims of a fire in Urumqi, at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), in Hong Kong, China, 29 November 2022. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Why first-generation Chinese immigrants in the UK fear speaking up

Freelance writer He Yue muses about why first-generation Chinese immigrants in the UK are keeping silent about Chinese politics, even for those who have opinions about what is happening in China. It seems that the opportunities for democracy and freedom while living abroad are still not enough to get them to share how they really feel, even in private chat groups among friends.