Orville Schell: What controls are beneficial to a free society?

China’s attempt to both capitalise on and control the internet is “one of the greatest experiments” in the country’s history, says Orville Schell of the Asia Society.

On the internet in China, Orville Schell, the Arthur Ross director of the Centre on US-China Relations at the Asia Society, says: “We’re watching one of the greatest experiments in history of China trying to both use it to its purposes and control it.” Schell says it’s important to consider what kind of controls are legitimate and constructive in a free and open society. He adds that while he is a firm believer in a free and open society, he has devoted much time to figuring out what benefits control can confer to society. This, says Schell, is a question that can be asked and discussed  “without violating these other extremely important beliefs in human rights and freedom of expression and open society”.

(Young people surf the web near Peking University, China. Photo by Peter Rogers/Newsmakers.)

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Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford. www.freespeechdebate.ox.ac.uk

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