New Generation of Online Activists Targeted in China

Hua Chunhui was detained after tweeting about the ‘Jasmine Revolution’ © Amnesty International

Jasmine Revolution.  Those two words simply uttered online elicit enough fear in Chinese leaders’ hearts to throw the writer in jail.

Online activists have long been at risk in China but the recent spate of arrests — following online calls for a ‘Jasmine Revolution’ in China — has gotten out of hand.  Chinese authorities are not only detaining seasoned dissidents; they are trying to silence a whole new generation of online activists.

More than 100 activists, many of them active on Twitter and blogging networks, have been detained, subjected to monitoring and intimidation by the security forces, or have gone missing since late February. The sweep is the worst since 2009 when thousands were detained following deadly riots in Urumqi.

The call for a ‘Jasmine Revolution’ in February consisted of online instructions to ‘stroll’ through designated public places on Sunday afternoons. Faced with a large state security presence, no significant gatherings took place.


Chinese Woman Sentenced to Year in Labor Camp Over Tweet

We’re appalled that the Chinese authorities sentenced a woman to a year in a labor camp for retweeting a supposedly anti-Japanese message.  They must release her immediately.

Chinese online activist Cheng Jianping was sentenced to one year of ‘Re-education Through Labour’ on Monday for “disturbing social order”, having retweeted a satirical suggestion on October 17 that the Japanese Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo be attacked.

Cheng disappeared ten days later, on what was to be her wedding day, her whereabouts unknown until it emerged this week that she had been detained and sentenced by local police.

Sentencing someone to a year in a labour camp, without trial, for simply repeating another person’s clearly satirical observation on Twitter demonstrates the level of China’s repression of online expression.

The offending tweet was originally posted by Cheng’s fiancé Hua Chunhui, mocking China’s young nationalist demonstrators who had smashed Japanese products in protest over a maritime incident between China and Japan involving the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.