Freedom To Speak?

Sarah Scott

I read an article on Mashable about a Chinese app that is more downloaded than Gmail. This article, written by Jack Morse, is entitled China’s Indoctrination App Downloaded More Than Gmail. hinese app that is downloaded is entitled Study the Great Nation and is teaching the consumer about the nation’s leader. Morse says the app, “allows users to spend hours a day learning about their Great Leader, taking quizzes to demonstrate their devotion to said leader, and parroting back their absolute favorite leader’s quotes. (Morse)” This app is definitely a propaganda attempt on the part of the Communist Party of China, who developed the app.

This is a photo shared on the Mashable site showing pages in the app. Since I’ve been studying Chinese, I am able to read what the titles of each picture say. In order from left to right: (to learn, video, news, and answers)

I was surprised that this app was downloaded more than the Google Mail app. However, upon reading the article I realized why a lot of people are downloading the app. Morse says, “some employers reportedly (are) even threatening to deduct pay,” if you do not play the game and, “earn points (Morse).” A New York Times article written by Javier Hernandez says, “Private companies, hoping to curry favor with party officials, are ranking employees based on their use of the app and awarding top performers the title of ‘star learner’.” Hernandez goes on to state, “The app comes as Mr. Xi, who rose to power in 2012, is leading a broader crackdown on free speech in China, imprisoning scores of activists, lawyers and intellectuals, and imposing new restrictions on the news media.” This app pushes all the good aspects and rhetoric of the leader, emphasizing phrases he says that will rally the people, and it ignores all the aspects that the party doesn’t want the public to know. They instead push what they want the public to know. This is akin to what Germany did. After losing the first world war Germans were disenchanted and angry that their conditions post war were rough. Hitler pushed his idea that he could make Germany the idealized state and the German people were the best race in the world. The Chinese app is pushing an idealized Chinese state that doesn’t share the real agenda. This app is more or less being pushed on people who probably wouldn’t download this app on their own. Hernandez says, “Schools are shaming students with low app scores.” They are shaming people into using the app.

This app is definitely a danger to the Chinese people losing even more freedom than they have already lost. Hernandez says, “The government has moved swiftly to prosecute cheating and limit criticism of the app.” The limiting of speech is a defining point of the communist state, and definitely infringes on a basic human right that we have rightly protected here in the United States. The Human Rights Watch says, “How any society tolerates those with minority, disfavored, or even obnoxious views will often speak to its performance on human rights more generally.” In other words, if humans are able to express themselves, they will have a better life, but if humans have their freedom of speech restricted, then they will have a worse off life. People need to be able to have freedom to speak.

Works Referenced:

Hernández, J. (Apr. 7, 2019) The Hottest App in China Teaches Citizens About Their Leader Retrieved from:

Morse, J. (May 16, 2019) China’s indoctrination app downloaded more than Gmail Retrieved from:

Human Rights Watch (2019) Free Speech. Retrieved from:


5 thoughts on “Freedom To Speak?

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