Volume 28, 2011

China's Modenization I

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom
Pages 173-185

China and the Town Square Test

This essay assesses the way that issues relating to freedom of speech and public and private forms of dissent have and have not changed in the People’s Republic of China in recent decades. It looks at the way China’s unusual trajectory suggests that Nathan Sharansky’s famous “town square test,” which is often used to divide countries along a single axis (with “free” nations on one side, “fear” nations on the other) is problematic. The need to take regional variations within China into account is one theme that is stresses.