I feel like censorship is definitely a problem in China, but Americans have such a shitty understanding of what that censorship means: what it looks like & feels like in this particular instance. And it’s totally hypocritical to look down on China for its censorship practices when there’s so much self-censorship that goes on in the US, too—-we just don’t think of self-censorship as an “unfree” practice when it happens in the US: we think of not saying certain things as “expedient” or “wise” or “likely not to land us in deep shit.”
I know many women, even feminist women, who have things they don’t say, simply because of patriarchal society. You can bet that the most scandalous things you read about on the Internet don’t compare a fig to shit that’s really happening, especially to women and queers and trans*folk and people of color and the poor. 1 in 3 women in the US are raped. Many women in the US probably can’t even imagine a society in which they’re not constantly surrounded by creeps & potential rapists. My personal experience in Shanghai has felt much safer, but I’ve also spent much less time there (only about two months of walking around by myself).
I don’t think it’s helpful at this point to compare which is “worse,” the US vs. China. They’re both patriarchal capitalist oligarchies, though one is white supremacist while indulging in the occasional imperialist moralizing, while the other is more patriarchal & defensive.
You can’t convince me that China is more repressive than the United States though. The United States has a prison population of 2.1 million (737 prisoners per 100,000 people) and China has a prison population of 1.5 million (118 prisoners per 100,000 people).
(reposted from this news article)
Of course, the number of “official” political prisoners in China is way higher. (I haven’t scrutinized this yet, but it might contain helpful & hopefully somewhat reliable information?) There’s also intense instances of house arrest (like with Ai Wei Wei and Chen Guangcheng) (although, how come it’s always the heroic government-resisting men whose stories of house arrest get feted? Women in China get house arrested too (See here and here, for starters.)) However, what with drones and Leah-Lynne Plante getting taken into custody in the U.S., I don’t really see America as doing much better.