Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Second Department

Asian Studies

Reader 1

Mona G. Mehta

Reader 2

Minxin Pei

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

Rights Information

© 2012 Emily Alice Chesbrough


Freedom of speech is a right guaranteed by the US, the EU, and China; however, just because a right is guaranteed does not mean the government cannot manipulate the right to achieve its ends. Freedom of speech is commonly associated with the power of language; citizens speak in order to take control of those governing them, in order to assert their desires. In reality, freedom of speech is far more beneficial for governments, who can use this dissent to better control a population. In order to control the population, though, the governments must first control the dissenting speech, the discourse, surrounding an issue. In the case studies that follow, these three governments with very different regimes will manipulate discourses elicited in the name of free speech in order to advance the governments’ plans, even when these plans went against the stated public interest and ignored the dissenting citizens. This thesis, in essence, examines how freedom of speech can become a tool of power for regimes.

Data Charts for Chapter 2 FINAL.doc (75 kB)
Chapter 2 Data Figures 1-3

Figure 4- Microblogger Accounts from Sina Weibo FINAL.doc (48 kB)
Chapter 2 Data Figure 4