>For instance: Ask your average Chinese college student whether they have freedom of religion / speech, and they will say yes. What they often dont know is that you can be arrested for talking to a minor about religion, or talking about religion outside of a state-sanctioned church. Ask the Falun-Gong about their thoughts on Chinese free speech.
But practically speaking, the average Chinese college student is correct. They're completely free, that is until they have a high-enough profile to attract attention. No one is ever disappeared for talking to a minor about religion or talking about religion outside of a church. Fulan-Gong has the misfortune of being high-profile and regarded as a cult, but again, if you talk to someone on the street about Falun-Gong, no one is going to knock on your door in the middle of the night -- unless you have high profile.
Now obviously in our Western minds this isn't a correct situation. But if you're just an everyday college student (or an engineer at a multinational), for practical purposes, you have the freedom to say and do anything you want as long as you don't attract a large following. In a country of 1.3 billion people, your chances are quite good of not attracting such a following.
We have this same paranoia in the United States. Who would Snowden be if he'd not been able to contact the press and get his story known? Just a nobody that's not a threat to anyone. If I have proof the moon landing was fake I'm just a crackpot. But if I have proof and manage to convince 100 million fellow Americans I might suffer a tragic accident, too. (Or instead of moon landing, pick something more serious; you get my point I'm sure.)