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China arrests blogger for Twitter joke

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China arrests blogger for Twitter joke

Internet petition for Chinese blogger arrested after posting Twitter joke about Communist leadership congress

China-congress-Beijing-008.jpg

China has arrested a Beijing blogger for joking on Twitter about the 18th Communist party congress, suggesting a horror movie scenario involving the Great Hall of the People (pictured) collapsing on delegates.

Chinese internet users are rallying around a Beijing blogger detained by police after posting a joke on Twitter about the pivotal Communist Party congress.

Chinese authorities have been especially sensitive to dissent about the party meeting, which last week ushered in a new generation of leaders. Activists were sent out of Beijing beforehand, and police rounded up hundreds of people who tried to draw the central authorities' attention to grievances against local governments.

Zhai Xiaobing's tweet on 5 November suggested that the next "movie" in the "Final Destination" horror franchise would be about the Great Hall of the People collapsing on party delegates.

He tweeted: "An earthshaking debut will be seen at the global premiere on Nov 8!" The congress began on 8 November.

After Zhai's Twitter account fell silent for a few days, a friend of his, Liu Yanping, grew worried and visited his home in Miyun county in Beijing's north-eastern suburbs. Family members there told her that Miyun county police had taken Zhai away on 7 November and seized his computer, Liu said.

A Miyun county police officer who would only give his surname, Sun, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that Zhai was being investigated for "spreading terrorist information". The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment.

Zhai's supporters say the allegation is absurd and more than 400 people have signed an online petition calling on police to release him – and to have more of a sense of humour.

"I was very shocked when I realised what happened to him. I've consulted a few lawyers and I feel that it's clear his Twitter joke does not amount to spreading terrorist information," Liu said. "It's just preposterous."

Liu said she and a few other activists have been in touch with Zhai's family and would help hire a lawyer. She said state security officials had visited Zhai's wife to warn her to keep a low profile.

Zhai's wife, when reached by phone, declined to comment on her husband's situation.

The online petition, written by the outspoken blogger and free-speech advocate Wen Yunchao, urges the authorities to lighten up.

"We solemnly request that Beijing police find a little sense of humour and not make a big deal out of nothing," it said. "In particular, do not destroy the goodwill and anticipation the public has for the new office holders after the 18th party congress by limiting and persecuting an ordinary citizen's normal freedom of speech in such a groundless fashion."

Further inquiries were directed to the Beijing Public Security Bureau, which did not immediately respond to a faxed list of questions.

A rights group said Zhai's case could be seen as a test of whether China's incoming leaders will continue the recent steady crackdown authorities have imposed on the country's small community of activists, dissidents and lawyers.

"The new leadership has two choices: continue down the path of criminal prosecution to signal that they are unwilling to change, or release Zhai to show goodwill that it is responding to popular demands for greater freedom," said Maya Wang, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, based in Hong Kong.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/21/china-arrest-blogger-twitter-joke

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Kinda puts the haircut-related problems with our human rights into perspective, doesn't it?

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Kinda puts the haircut-related problems with our human rights into perspective, doesn't it?

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I am unsure why anyone would be surprised by this. It is not as if China is a free and open democracy that embraces human rights and the rule of law.

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I am unsure why anyone would be surprised by this. It is not as if China is a free and open democracy that embraces human rights and the rule of law.

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China's not the only one..

Facebook protest: Arrested, slapped, girls still in trauma

logo.gif

icon.gif Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Puja Changoiwala, Hindustan Times

Palghar, November 20, 2012

Forget free speech. A simple comment on Facebook - and what they got was a slap in the face.

On Sunday evening, 20-year-old Rinu Srinivasan - who got arrested with her friend Shaheen Dhada, 21, for objecting to the bandh following Bal Thackeray's death on Facebook - was hit by an unidentified woman outside Mumbai's Palghar police station.

"I saw a huge crowd outside the police station. Suddenly, a woman slapped me twice and vanished into the crowd," said Srinivasan. "I could not complain or tell anyone, because I was the one against whom the case was being registered," she added, tears rolling down her cheeks.

The two young women have had a bitter time.

Srinivasan, a Botany graduate, who had simply "liked" Dhada's comment on Facebook, said she was traumatised.

"I have never been to a police station before. I looked around and there were so many people staring at me. The place was so intimidating. And I was put through all this only because I chose to express my opinion," she said. Timeline: Sena on a rampage

shaheen650a.jpg

Shaheen Dhadha and Renu Shrinivasan, arrested for their posts on Facebook, after their release on bail by the Palghar court in Mumbai on Monday. PTI photo

And the trauma still lingers. "I am a common person, I do not have any power. The case will affect my career. But I cannot do anything," Srinivasan said.

Dhada, however, is standing strong by her Facebook post.

"Even when I gave the written apology, I did not apologise because I thought I had done something wrong. I apologised because my words had hurt a few people and I never intended to hurt anyone," she said.

"I have no political inclinations whatsoever. That was my opinion and I simply expressed it. Who expected such a reaction? I just think it was the wrong time. Something ill-fated had to happen and it did," Dhada added.

A graduate in management studies, Dhada said following the controversy, somebody created a fake Facebook account in her name on Sunday night. Her original account, from which she had made the update, has been hacked into.

Will they return to Facebook? Not in the near future, it seems. "Even if I do visit the website, I will post updates only about mundane things," said Srinivasan.

"I am not scared," Dhada said. "I believe Shaheen and I should get justice," added Srinivasan.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/962062.aspx

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I thought Twitter was banned in China.

Well, when your joke implies mass deaths of government officials, including the current and next Chinese presidents no less, you are going to draw some attention. Didn't a British man get banned from visiting the U.S. for calling Obama a "prick" a while ago?

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China's not the only one..

Facebook protest: Arrested, slapped, girls still in trauma

logo.gif

icon.gif Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Puja Changoiwala, Hindustan Times

Palghar, November 20, 2012

Forget free speech. A simple comment on Facebook - and what they got was a slap in the face.

On Sunday evening, 20-year-old Rinu Srinivasan - who got arrested with her friend Shaheen Dhada, 21, for objecting to the bandh following Bal Thackeray's death on Facebook - was hit by an unidentified woman outside Mumbai's Palghar police station.

"I saw a huge crowd outside the police station. Suddenly, a woman slapped me twice and vanished into the crowd," said Srinivasan. "I could not complain or tell anyone, because I was the one against whom the case was being registered," she added, tears rolling down her cheeks.

The two young women have had a bitter time.

Srinivasan, a Botany graduate, who had simply "liked" Dhada's comment on Facebook, said she was traumatised.

"I have never been to a police station before. I looked around and there were so many people staring at me. The place was so intimidating. And I was put through all this only because I chose to express my opinion," she said. Timeline: Sena on a rampage

shaheen650a.jpg

Shaheen Dhadha and Renu Shrinivasan, arrested for their posts on Facebook, after their release on bail by the Palghar court in Mumbai on Monday. PTI photo

And the trauma still lingers. "I am a common person, I do not have any power. The case will affect my career. But I cannot do anything," Srinivasan said.

Dhada, however, is standing strong by her Facebook post.

"Even when I gave the written apology, I did not apologise because I thought I had done something wrong. I apologised because my words had hurt a few people and I never intended to hurt anyone," she said.

"I have no political inclinations whatsoever. That was my opinion and I simply expressed it. Who expected such a reaction? I just think it was the wrong time. Something ill-fated had to happen and it did," Dhada added.

A graduate in management studies, Dhada said following the controversy, somebody created a fake Facebook account in her name on Sunday night. Her original account, from which she had made the update, has been hacked into.

Will they return to Facebook? Not in the near future, it seems. "Even if I do visit the website, I will post updates only about mundane things," said Srinivasan.

"I am not scared," Dhada said. "I believe Shaheen and I should get justice," added Srinivasan.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/962062.aspx

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