Freedom of speech and how everyone’s struggling to keep it.

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Freedom of speech and how everyone’s struggling to keep it.

The TallTale Writer, Editor

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Everywhere we go, the art of demonstration is changing and many people are not ready to give up their new-found rights of protesting yet. There has been a new trend of civilians living in countries like China and Russia, getting bolder. Recently in China, thousands of people showed up to protest in Beijing against a government plan that would allow extraditions to mainland China. Why the demonstration? Many in Hong Kong feel that this new government plan is a new symbol of eroding freedom. Plenty of Chinese citizens agree that there is no harm in wanting to extradite criminals, however the worry is that the government can abuse the law and use it against anyone they deem dangerous.

Following China’s shocking persecution of Uighurs and the new disturbing details about their surveillance system, there has been a reason for concern on the way the government would handle protests and practice of free speech. You would think that protests would go down due to the strict laws enabled to control citizens, however the opposite seemed to happen. From records of analysts and scientists they found that The group has obtained details of 1,257 protests in 2017 and 1,318 in 2018. There is no doubt that tensions are rising, and although we don’t know much, we can assume, so are the amount of people in jail.

 

While much is happening in China, we found a new and artistic movement happening in Russia. Many young people in Russia are becoming frustrated and angered by not only politics, but social issues they believe to be harmful. Throughout the last few years there has been a boom in protests. Groups like Pussy Riot came to light after getting publicity for their lewd and shocking displays of protests. New groups like “Monstration” also came out. The group became famous for not even have a purpose to protest, they protest with the most random signs and chants because their whole protest is demanding the right to protest whatever they feel is right. Although it sounds confusing, the group has gone viral, and many in Russia has joined in solidarity.   

Russia also seems to have a steady rise in the amounts of protests being active. According to researchers, they have  already recorded over 2,500 protests in 2018 compared to under 1,500 nationwide the year before. According to another Russian survey, the “willingness” to protest has more than doubled since 2 decades ago. Even though the amount of protests are increasing, the protests in Russia are still much smaller than the ones in the U.S. An average protest in Russia has about 100 people showing to participate, while an above average protest in Russia may attract between 100-500 participants. The punishment in Russia for protesting is still harsh, and in order to curb protests even more, the government is thinking about punishing parents for their children protesting.

 

Changes are also starting to happen in Russian courts. Recently, a journalist named Ivan Golunov was arrested on charges of drug dealing. Eventually, officials found out that the journalist was framed, however police still wanted to keep him in jail and on trial. This sparked a public outrage in Russia, and for the first time, Putin decided to back down and support the reporter. Ivan was finally released, and the people are left to question whether their court system is protecting them. Ivan was found beat up in jail and imprisoned under cruel circumstances. His arrest led to some of the biggest and boldest protests to happen in Russia.  

It’s up to the people of these countries and ours to keep the honor and liberty of free speech and journalism. Nobody knows how important free speech is, until they lose it.