Internet Human Rights Declaration

Issued by 15 Chinese intellectuals

Source: Canyu

Author: Ling Canzhou and others

On 8 October 2009, 15 Chinese intellectuals, including writers, scholars and lawyers, jointly issued the following online Internet Human Rights Declaration:

Internet Human Rights Declaration

Those of us who are standing on the embankment overlooking the torrent of history have witnessed the potential of this new technology: the Internet. We understand how this new technological revolution has brought about progress and social changes. It has great potential to advance basic human rights and freedom for Chinese people. Its contribution to civilisation will be on a par with the discovery of iron and fire, or the invention of plough and wheel in ancient days.

We acknowledge the arrival of netizen activism and regard it as an irreversible trend. Citizen reporting, which involves the use of mobile phones and digital cameras for in-situ information dissemination, has become fashionable and trendy. The Internet has also provided netizens with unlimited space for creativity and for voicing opinions through weblogs, podcasts, BBS and online comments.

We believe it is a citizen’s responsibility to be concerned about public affairs, and a netizen’s responsibility to care about freedom of speech on the Internet. Netizens are exercising their civil rights when they legally express their opinions or when they report the truth of what has actually happened. The best way to rejuvenate an ancient civilisation is to inject it with new core values based on the advancement of happiness and of basic human rights for individuals. It is also the best way to improve well-being for everyone in China. For these reasons, freedom of speech on the Internet should be encouraged, nurtured and tolerated.

We therefore pledge for the following principles to be endorsed:

1. Freedom of speech on the Internet is a part of citizens’ rights to freedom of speech. It is the most basic human rights and the most fundamental value that should be pursued, treasured and protected.

2. Netizens who express their opinions on the Internet using words, sounds, pictures or videos, should be protected and encouraged, as long as such conduct is in accord with the constitution and local statutes.

3. The right to publish opinion is the most basic rights for netizens. This includes the right to publish through weblogs and podcasts, as well as online discussion forums. Netizens’ rights to publish should not be subjected to unlawful investigation and interference. They should be allowed freedom to hold and to express their views without feeling intimidated.

4. Netizens’ editorial rights should be respected. When they are exercising those rights, they should not be subjected to harassment by authorities who act outside of law.

5. It is the right of Netizens to conduct interviews and to report their findings. This right is protected as a part of their constitutional rights to freedom of speech. Netizens who excercise this right should endeavour to report the truth, and to avoid distortions, fabrications and malicious slander.

6. It is the right of netizens to make comments and to exchange opinion. This includes the right to ask questions, to monitor, to criticise and to boycott.

7. Netizens’ freedom of speech encompasses a right to express themselves anonymously. Anonymity enables some authors to express their opinions in ways that best suit their needs. This legal right should be respected as long as an anonymous author is expressing his views in accordance with legal and constitutional requirements.

8. The right to conduct information searches on the Internet is an integral part of netizens’ rights to express, to be informed and to monitor. It is our opinion that legal websites should not be filtered, and that netizens’ rights to conduct searches on public information for personal use should be respected and protected.

9. Online privacy should be respected and protected. Netizens’ real identities and personal information should not be disclosed unless the information is required for a transparent legal proceeding, or else if the disclosure is necessary under the rule of law.

10. The freedom of disseminating information should be respected and protected as long as it is conducted in line with legal and constitutional requirements. Website monitoring, filtering and blockades that go against the principle of freedom of speech should be condemned by public opinion. Netizens are entitled to seek freedom of expression and justice through judicial proceedings.

We call for the establishing of an Internet Human Rights Day, to remind everyone of the need to safeguard freedom of speech on the Internet. This is the only effective way to make sure all people in Chinese enjoy human rights and happiness.

10 October 1911 was the day when a group of patriots staged an uprising to end the rule of a cruel and racist dynasty. They also put an end to a long imperialist history. As a way of commemorating their bravery and their spirit of freedom, we suggest to make every October 10th China’s Internet Human Rights Day.

Written by: Ling Cangzhou

On: 8 October 2009

Signed by:

Ling Cangzhou (Beijing, scholar, senior mass media worker)

Zhao Guojun (Beijing, Legal Scholar)

Ran Yunfei (Chengdu, writer, scholar, editor)

Beifeng (Guangzhou, senior Internet media worker)

Zan Aizong (Hangzhou, writer, reporter)

Zhang Hui (Beijing, scholar, officer-in-charge of Mr De Research Centre)

Tang Jitian (Beijing, lawyer)

Wei Ke (Beijing, poet, animator)

Jiang Tianyong (Beijing, lawyer)

Jin Guanghong (Beijing, lawyer)

Han Yicun (Beijing, lawyer)

Guo Yuju (Beijing, scholar)

Shi Yijun (Beijing, historian)

Ba Zhongwei (Henan, youth rights worker)

Zuo Qiao (Beijing, educator)

A Chinese version of the declaration can be found HERE.

This entry was posted in media censorship, Under the Tree and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Internet Human Rights Declaration

  1. conscienceinchina says:

    Yeung, great job! I’ve read it roughly, and I don’t think there is something new on it.

  2. Pingback: Global Voices Advocacy » China: Internet human rights declaration

  3. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Internet Human Rights Declaration « Under the Jacaranda Tree [] on

  4. Pingback: Global Voices Online » China: Internet Human Rights Declaration

  5. Pingback: Civil Liberties: Is America being Harmonized? « Justrecently's Weblog

  6. conscienceinchina says:

    Correction: I don’t think there is anything new on it

  7. Pingback: Internet Sans Frontières » Blog Archive » Des intellectuels chinois écrivent la Déclaration des droits de l’homme sur Internet

  8. Pingback: Chine : une déclaration des droits de l’homme sur Internet | ReadWriteWeb France

  9. We would be glad to share with you our own version of Digital Human Rights.

    It is a version that has been brought by several French intellectuals, including writers, scholars, lawyers, bloggers and Internet professionals. It’s been originated by Hervé Morin, French political leader, Président du “Nouveau Centre” (and Sarkozy’s current Ministre de la défense).

    The 1st version of their work is on-line on (English translation) and (French version).

    Please, feel free ton contact us or follow us on Twitter (@digital_rights / #digitalhumanrights #droits-numeriques).


  10. Pingback: Chinesische Intellektuelle veröffentlichen Aufruf für Informationsfreiheit im Internet « Robert's Weblog

  11. Pingback: Internet Human Rights Declaration – Issued by 15 Chinese intellectuals - Perfect Privacy Support Blog & Knowledgebase

  12. Pingback: Chinesische Intellektuelle veröffentlichen Aufruf für Informationsfreiheit im Internet - Perfect Privacy Support Blog & Knowledgebase

  13. Pingback: Internet Human Rights Declaration : Burks' Blog

  14. Pingback: Global Voices Advocacy » China’s Internet: Two Media Declarations

  15. Pingback: China: Internet human rights declaration-Under the Jacaranda Tree « FACT – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand

  16. Conscienceinchina says:

    Correction: but I don’t think there is anything new on it.

  17. Jean-Marc says:

    We would like to mention the existence of a Non Profit Organization Mnemosine ( sharing close concerns.

    Created in Feb. 2009, this NPO included in its statuses a Declaration of Digital Human Rights, subdue to the 1948 one, and presented to UNESCO / UN.

    The role of this NPO is to propose a cloud computing / data hosting service system dedicated to individuals that respect this declaration of human rights. It is an operational project, meaning that we are currently working over the technical / juridical / economical aspects of this project and would like to propose such systems woldwide : for instance has been reserved to that purpose.

    This is an open project, and would be happy to share and discuss these ideas. Do not hesitate to contact us (postmaster a t !

  18. Pingback: Jean-Marc Mercier blog » Blog Archive » UNIVERSAL declaration of digital human rights

  19. clie78787878 says:

    There is a massive change underway in the mobile media market as it becomes unshackled from the operators’ portals that have dominated it for a decade, all without having made any significant inroads into the content use of mobile users. The new capped data packages, fuelled by further competition, will see a total revamp of the mobile media market. It will no longer be based on portals but on direct services by content and services providers via open source phones and mobile-friendly Internet-based services. The next step is the continued emergence of m-commerce and in particular m-payment services. 

  20. We support Ran Yunfei and the 14 other Chinese intellectuals who published the Internet Human Rights Declaration. Freedom of speech and information, YES! Martha Morton, Director, Arkansas Global Programs/UALR

  21. 祁怀荣 says:


Comments are closed.