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China and the World's First Freedom of Information Act: the Swedish Freedom of the Press Act of 1766
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.
2013 (English)In: Javnost - The Public, ISSN 1318-3222, Vol. 20, no 4, 45-63 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In 1766, the world's first freedom of information act: His Majesty's Gracious Ordinance Relating to Freedom of Writing and of the Press was passed in the Swedish Diet, largely through the work of Anders Chydenius. Few people today realise that this had something to do with China. The image of China as a distant utopia, a prosperous and politically stable country, had been created through accounts such as Jean Baptiste Du Halde's four volume Description geographique, historique, chronologique, politique, et physique de l'empire de la Chine et de la Tartarie chinoise. In Sweden, politicians Anders Nordencrantz and Anders Chydenius, basing their arguments on Du Halde's descriptions, claimed that the freedom of writing, of the press and of information had been in existence in China since ancient times, and had largely contributed to the wealth and stability of China. In this paper I examine the political pamphlets written by these two Swedish politicians to show how they used China as an example to strengthen the arguments for a Freedom of the Press Act in Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 20, no 4, 45-63 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-214031ISI: 000328175100004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-214031DiVA: diva2:684198
Available from: 2014-01-07 Created: 2014-01-07 Last updated: 2016-02-15Bibliographically approved

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