China's Censorship of the Internet and Social Media: The Human Toll and Trade Impact

Congressional-Executive Commission on China
Thursday, November 17, 2011
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Washington, DC
Location TBA

China's tightening censorship amidst a boom in the popularity of social media and the Internet raises important questions regarding both the human dimension and the trade impact of these trends. Chinese citizens are increasingly criticizing the government and Party while accessing greater information online, but face imprisonment and harassment for their actions. This hearing will first examine the human toll from online censorship.

The U.S. Trade Representative is also seeking greater transparency on China's Internet censorship at the World Trade Organization. The second panel will look at the growth of China's Internet and the role that trade remedies can play in combating China's Internet censorship and ensuring U.S. companies have access to China's market. U.S. companies, from leading tech firms to small businesses, are shut out of China, while Chinese versions of these companies flourish and raise millions of dollars overseas, including in the United States.


Panel 1:

  • Alex Li, college student and son of Li Yuanlong, who served two years in prison for commenting on the Communist Party online
  • Pastor John Zhang, Christian political dissident who was imprisoned for two years following the 1989 Tiananmen protests and who currently assists families of Chinese political prisoners

Panel 2:

  • Xiao Qiang, Adjunct Professor, Graduate School of Journalism, University of California at Berkeley; Founder and Editor-in-Chief of China Digital Times
  • Gil Kaplan, Partner, King & Spalding; President of the Committee to Support U.S. Trade Laws
  • Edward Black, President and CEO, Computer & Communications Industry Association