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From Global Times|
Two people were sentenced to prison terms for inciting subversion by local courts in Guizhou and Sichuan recently. Certain Western media again linked the judgment to human rights issues. There are clear articles on inciting subversion of state power in Chinese criminal law and these men were punished in accordance with these.
Similar offenses exist in many other countries. This is not incompatible with protecting freedom of speech. For example, Article 2383 and 2385 of Chapter 115 in the United States Code make similar regulations and the US has seen several cases about defendants inciting confrontation with the US government in the last century.
China is in a period of social transition in which the freedom of speech is quickly expanding. Some say that there is no boundary for freedom of speech and that inciting subversion of state power is therefore legal. This could cause devastating influences on China's relatively peaceful public environment.
China's political framework is formed by the constitution. Subversion of state power means to change the constitution. Chinese criminal law must severely punish such actions.
At present, Chinese political values are hardly immune from Western influence due to globalization, which shows that the transfer of power has a different political meaning in China and the West.
The transfer of power means rotation of ruling parties in the West but means regime change in China. The West has institutions to ensure the transition of ruling parties but regime change could only mean a revolution in China.
No country is willing to encourage such a revolution. Defining inciting revolutions as a crime and punishing those involved is hardly stretching judicial authority.
Since Chinese public opinion has not become overly diversified, the expression of different views, including different political views, should be further encouraged.
However, it is necessary to decisively punish those who incite subversion of state power. This is to safeguard national security. Unfortunately, every time China takes such actions, Western voices always sound out their opposition, but from a political perspective, not a legal one.
The Chinese public knows what crime is. Some label actions of safeguarding national security as an infringement on human rights. This may net them popularity among certain groups but not with the majority.
China should be firm when facing political pressure from the West and when handling big political issues. It should face problems, accelerate reform, and decisively oppose forces intending to cause political unrest in China. Only by doing so will China be secure and fair.