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Embracing Freedom, Navigating Sensitivities: My Journey from Silence to Speech

I wanted to share some of my real experiences and thoughts here. I grew up in China and moved to the United States when I was around 30. I've always been critical of the Chinese government. However, under China's repressive political climate, with internet restrictions and speech control, people hardly have any means to express their political demands. The only option within China is to use what the government deems "illegal" VPNs to access social media like Twitter and YouTube. After arriving in the United States, I embraced freedom of speech and various social media platforms, frequently expressing my political views or criticisms of the Chinese government and the CCP (The Chinese Communist Party).



However, the United States is a melting pot of cultures, with 5.4 million Chinese people ("2023 Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Key U.S. Census Stats"), not all of whom disapprove of China's authoritarian regime. In fact, some even admire some policies that can only be implemented in an authoritarian country. Therefore, when I post my views on social media, like Twitter, I am very careful. I try my best to differentiate "Chinese people" from the "Chinese government" or the "CCP" because I fear my posts might hurt their feelings. In reality, even with this cautious approach, it still causes discomfort among these groups.

Moreover, some posts, if they become highly influential, can lead to discrimination against Chinese Americans. For example, the "Chinese spy balloon incident" early last year, where a balloon from China was shot down after traversing US airspace for three days. Some reports and studies have shown that this balloon had capabilities for networking and intelligence gathering(Kube and Lee), a ridiculous violation of Air rights. However, a senator from Texas reposted an edited picture of the balloon on Twitter and faced accusations of racial discrimination (Perlis).

Freedom of speech on social media can be a double-edged sword in certain scenarios. Perhaps some Chinese Americans might feel uncomfortable seeing my current post. and frankly, when I encounter their views and ideas, I too feel discomfort. However, as Voltaire said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," I try to phrase my opinions carefully and analyze them rationally when publishing them, to make my points logical and well-founded rather than baseless accusations, aiming to minimize hurt to innocent people's feelings as much as possible.

Works Cited

“U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Stats in Honor of 2023 Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.” U.S. Department of Commerce, 1 May 2023, www.commerce.gov/news/blog/2023/05/us-census-bureau-releases-key-stats-honor-2023-asian-american-native-hawaiian-and.

Kube, Courtney, and Carol E. Lee. “U.S. Intelligence Officials Determined the Chinese Spy Balloon Used a U.S. Internet Provider to Communicate.” NBC News, 28 Dec. 2023, www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/us-intelligence-officials-determined-chinese-spy-balloon-used-us-inter-rcna131150.

Perlis, Wicker. “Chinese Spy Balloon Tweet from MS State Senator Goes Viral, Leads to Accusations of Racism.” The Clarion-Ledger, www.clarionledger.com/story/news/politics/2023/02/06/mississippi-senator-faces-accusations-of-racism-for-viral-china-balloon-tweet/69877554007/.

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