This is a story about censorship.
Censorship is when you are prevented from saying or writing about what’s on your mind.
Liu Futang is an environmentalist and writer. Earlier this year he won the award for Best Citizen Journalist in China’s Environmental Press Awards. Recently he was arrested. His crime: printing books without a license, books which he gave away.
But the real crime here is being committed by the Chinese government, which doesn’t want the world to look closer at what earned Futang his award, namely: writing about rapid deforestation in China’s Hainan province. Futang’s “crime” is that he exposed how rich and powerful people in China are so anxious to make money by building hotels, apartments and golf courses that they are willing to destroy the country’s natural inheritance.
“Liu’s only crime is trying to tell as many people as possible about what he has learned from his research. His trial is an attempt to deter all citizen-journalists and get them to censor themselves,”
according to Reporters Without Borders, a global group that fights to protect journalists. Reporters without Borders is one of many humanitarian and environmental groups that have publicly protested Futang’s arrest.
The timing of Futang’s arrest is ironic. While he faces five years in prison for the “crime” of warning people about a threat to the environment, in the US four Presidential and one Vice-Presidential debate have now concluded without one question being asked about climate change and other serious threats to the environment.
Here’s hoping that important environmental issues are freely and frequently discussed in your school. (It’s your future, after all.)
To learn more, read this story on Mongabay.com