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UN Says Freedom of Speech on the Internet is Human Right, Baidu Tieba Bans Forums on "Freedom" and "Rights"

And before you leave a comment saying "but I could find search results . . ." - I'm talking about Tieba, not web search. Click these links to see what I mean:


On July 5, 2012, the U.N. Human Rights Council's 47 members states agreed on Thursday that people's right to freedom of expression on the Internet should be protected by all states and access to the Internet should also be guaranteed. In its press release the Council reported:

China, in a general comment, said that it had given careful consideration to the resolution and expressed the hope that attention would be paid to different views of countries on freedom of speech and on controlling the Internet. China noted that that some of China’s recommendations on the matter had not been fully accepted despite being constructive and reasonable. It stressed that online gambling, pornography and hacking were increasingly becoming a threat to the legal rights of society, particularly minors. States therefore were bound to run the Internet legally, otherwise the free flow of unhealthy and negative information would obstruct the function of the Internet.

Reuters reported:

China's envoy backed the motion but said Internet users, especially youth, also needed to be protected from harmful websites. "We believe that the free flow of information on the Internet and the safe flow of information on the Internet are mutually dependent," Xia Jingge [夏敬革] told the Geneva forum, which ends a three-week session on Friday. "As the Internet develops rapidly, online gambling, pornography, violence, fraud and hacking are increasing its threat to the legal rights of society and the public."

The resolution (A/HRC/20/L.13) states that the Council: 

1. Affirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice, in accordance with articles 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

2. Recognizes the global and open nature of the Internet as a driving force in accelerating progress towards development in its various forms;

3. Calls upon all States to promote and facilitate access to the Internet and international cooperation aimed at the development of media and information and communications facilities in all countries;

4. Encourages special procedures to take these issues into account within their existing mandates, as applicable;

5. Decides to continue its consideration of the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, on the Internet and in other technologies, as well as of how the Internet can be an important tool for development and for exercising human rights, in accordance with its programme of work.

The screenshots show that searches on Baidu's Tieba forum for "freedom" and "rights" returns no results, just a notice saying: "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this forum cannot be opened at this time" (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放。).

Press Release:
Resolution (Chinese):
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