NPR

How The Chinese Government Works To Censor Debate In Western Democracies

China's leaders try to muzzle free expression beyond their borders, inside liberal democracies, when speech contradicts the Communist Party line on issues like the status of Tibet and Taiwan.
Tibetans cheer on a Tibetan team at a soccer tournament in London. Fans say they were pleased and surprised that the tournament organizers didn't succumb to pressure from potential sponsors and dump the Tibetan team to avoid angering the Chinese government. Source: Frank Langfitt

It used to be that the Communist Party focused on censoring free speech primarily inside of China. In recent years, though, China's authoritarian government has tried to censor speech beyond its borders, inside liberal democracies, when speech contradicts the party's line on highly sensitive political issues, such as the status of Tibet and Taiwan. It's part of the party's grand strategy to change the way the world talks about China.

The Chinese government has been so effective at intimidating Western businesses on this front that sometimes companies do the party's work for it. That's what happened in London this summer at an obscure soccer tournament modeled on the World Cup. The teams were drawn from a hodgepodge of minority peoples, isolated territories and would-be nations, including Tibet.

Some potential corporate sponsors were queasy.

"There were inquiries made as to whether we would consider

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