Freedom of Speech...or not?

Published: 2008-03-27
Last Updated: 2008-03-27 22:33:38 UTC
by Pedro Bueno (Version: 1)
4 comment(s)

When you are in your own country, you know your limits about what to say or not. This is valid for conferences, interviews, etc...

The thing is, when you are going to a foreign country, you may not know how is the freedom of speech there, so, it may become quite dangerous if you want to speak something about the country that is hosting the event.

I am going to be giving a talk in Hong Kong on hacking/security topic in a near future. I need to know what would happen if I say that China is a source of lot of the problems that I see...

Would I be in jail right after the talk? Would I be prosecuted?

I know that Hong Kong have different laws than the China itself, but it is definitely a good question, specially for me...;)

Also, if you know of a country that I would also find these kind of problems, please let me know.


Pedro Bueno ( pbueno //&&// isc. sans. org. )


Keywords: china
4 comment(s)


This should keep you away from China :D Of course reading this also makes me afraid to cross state lines.
I think you're taking a good approach in being cautious, since Hong Kong is basically a province of China. I haven't traveled to China, but I guess one option might be to ask the people who are hosting the event if they know of someone who could provide concrete answers to your question. Another idea might be to ask them for names of past speakers, and research those people to find someone who is either from your own country or a very similar one (as a US resident, I would consider a British citizen an acceptable analog) so that they will understand your initial expectations of freedom of speech.

Also it would be a good idea to check with your hosts to see about the permanence of your presentation; will the hosts expect to post a video/audio/transcript of your talk; and do they have to provide samples (your presentation files) of your talk in advance (such as to a political officer) for 'acceptable language'.

I have heard of some Arabic countries where the freedoms of expression are quite different (Sharia law) but have no direct experience there either.

Good luck with the presentation!
One way to introduce the subject of hacking in China would be to discuss the importance of the collaborative work by Peking University and Mannheim University. This important work has helped many people understand botnets and malicious sites.

Here are some links to a couple of documents that people from China can be very proud of:

Characterizing the IRC-based Botnet Phenomenon

Studying Malicious Websites and the Underground Economy on the Chinese Web Peking University and University of Mannheim
I am from Hong Kong but living in Sydney at the moment. Hong Kong does enjoy freedom of speech and is a SAZ of China, not completely part of China, like Shanghai and Beijing is. That's why "dissident" groups like the Falun Kung can have branches in Hong Kong.
Anyway, if you are worry, this can be a yardstick IMHO; Try to stick with facts and not involve politics, especially any criticism about the Communist Party or mainland Government. For example, the recent attacks on Tibetan websites, try to stick with the methods employed for the attacks and steer away from any speculation of who may have done it or the possible political reasons behind the attacks.
Hope this help and I am quite sure you will have a great time, it is one of those cities like New York that always got a buzz around.

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