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A Single Re-Tweet Lands Chinese Woman in Labor Camp 273

Posted by timothy
from the more-than-2-days-per-char dept.
lee1 writes "A woman in China has been sentenced to a year of 're-education' in a labor camp for the crime of 'disrupting social order' after retweeting a joke on Twitter (which is entirely banned in China, but popular nonetheless). Cheng Jianping had repeated a Twitter comment suggesting that nationalist protesters smash Japan's pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, adding the words 'Charge, angry youth.' At the time, China and Japan were feuding over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, and groups of young Chinese had been demonstrating against Japan, smashing Japanese products; the tweet amounted to gentle chiding of the protesters. Ms. Cheng may also have been targeted because she is a human rights activist: she had signed petitions calling for the release of China's jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. She has been detained in the past for several other 'crimes,' including criticizing China's Communist Party."
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A Single Re-Tweet Lands Chinese Woman in Labor Camp

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  • by PatPending (953482) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:20PM (#34272146)
    Anyone using Twitter should be sentenced to a year of 're-education' in a labour camp.
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:22PM (#34272188)

    If you are a political activist in any country (not just China), don't post things publicly that are unrelated to your cause. Don't post things electronically that are or could be considered illegal, or be used as blackmail material. Remember that you are not representing yourself anymore, you are representing your cause. Everything you say and do will be put under a microscope, and the internet never forgets and never forgives mistakes.

    Now that that's out of the way: China, you suck.

    • by TheKidWho (705796)

      Yes, be very afraid, you might get caught.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So you feel that political activism and a personal online life are mutually exclusive?

    • by zrbyte (1666979)

      ... you are not representing yourself anymore, you are representing your cause...

      That could easily have come from Gandhi himself. I wish I had mod points for you.

    • I seem to remember an incident where they were fattening a tank/tub of leeches on a little girl.
      Fat leeches more muneee!

    • by pspahn (1175617)

      ...and the internet never forgets and never forgives mistakes.

      At some point, everyone's mistakes will be known to the world and we will become a much more forgiving society as a result.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Ms. Cheng is pretty hot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by macshit (157376)

      But what seems ironic here is that this woman actually represented a success of the Chinese government's attempt to use "controlled nationalism" to redirect peoples' passions anytime they seem to be leaning against the government (or other powerful interests the government tacitly protects).

      I guess they [the government] get scared anytime people get too passionate, even if government themselves stoked the fires in the first place...

  • you know, the snide comments "well, its almost just as bad/ the same/ worse in the usa/ uk/ western nation"

    no

    it actually isn't

    when you confuse hyperbole and reality, you are no longer commenting intelligently, you are merely broadcasting your ignorance

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Its not that bad yet, but you can't see trends then. Don't feel bad a lot of people don't see that "for your pretection" bus heading for them until it smashes them flat.

      The Chinese are just one upping the west and I can see the west about to catch up. Have you ever heard of court ordered sensitivity training?

      Where the hell else would I broadcast my ignorance than Slashdot. Now get off my lawn.

    • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:37PM (#34272428) Journal

      Except, I don't think most of the people making such statements are *really* idiots who don't get the obvious differences. I think (well, hope at least!) it's a matter of trying to caution/wake up people that nations like the United States are headed down a path that leads there, ultimately, if we don't stop and look at where we're going!

      Just this morning, I heard a couple of radio DJs doing their show, and despite their repeated insistence on taking a "libertarian outlook on things" in the past? These guys were obviously defending the full body scanners and pat-down searches at our airports! Their opinion, basically, was one of, "Come on! Someone having a grainy picture of your genitals is no big deal! I'd rather they see that than someone getting a bomb on my airline flight!", coupled with, "Like the TSA says... If you don't like it, just don't fly!"

      That mentality is EXACTLY what gets us ever closer to Chinese style government and censorship, people!

      • by tekrat (242117) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:45PM (#34272582) Homepage Journal

        EXACTLY!!! How is that American citizens can be treated with less regard than a captured member of the Taliban? How is it that a sexual assault is now necessary and endorsed in order to board a plane? And just try boarding a plane without the sexual assault and you're likely to be shot at, imprisoned, put on a no-fly list, and your life will be essentially ruined by the government, forever, all because you're trying to retain your rights and dignity.

        And people want to talk about how bad China is because it makes them feel superior and that they somehow have it better here. Well, in many cases you do not. Elsewhere, you're likely to recieve better healthcare, you're likely to recieve a better education and you're likely to live in country with more equal footing between you and your boss.

        And the country won't be entirely run by corporations focused only on greed. Please, tell me how much better off you are here in the Paranoid USA.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by frosty_tsm (933163)

          EXACTLY!!! How is that American citizens can be treated with less regard than a captured member of the Taliban? How is it that a sexual assault is now necessary and endorsed in order to board a plane? And just try boarding a plane without the sexual assault and you're likely to be shot at, imprisoned, put on a no-fly list, and your life will be essentially ruined by the government, forever, all because you're trying to retain your rights and dignity.

          It Soviet Russia and communist China, there isn't this kind of board-gate sexual-assault.

          Wow, a freedom that they have that we don't.

    • by Anonymusing (1450747) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:39PM (#34272460)

      Sir (or ma'am), I truly wish I had mod points.

      In America, you can say whatever the hell you want about the government -- even if it is slanderous, false, crazy, whatever -- and unless you are directly threatening to kill somebody, you can get away with it. That is NOTHING like a totalitarian government. If the Obama administration was really like China, Fox News would have been squashed a long time ago, and media types like Beck and Limbaugh would be quickly losing weight in a rock quarry somewhere.

    • when you confuse hyperbole and reality, you are no longer commenting intelligently, you are merely broadcasting your ignorance

      ...when you go and put your cart in front of your horse?
      Or when you jump the gun?

      Could it perchance be that you have failed to hold your horses, and that by bootstrapping your own argument in anticipation of hatched chickens you are actually tilting at windmills and thus producing a tempest in a teapot?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Consider this hypothetical:

      Someone really pissed at the TSA for their current screening techniques sends a satirical letter, thank-you card or email to Pistole saying:

      "Thank you so much for doing exactly what I want. You have been a great help for my cause in showing the American people what it's like to live in a Police state when they are in an airport and what my Muslim brothers have to deal with everyday.

      Yours,

      Osama Bin Laden."

      Just what do you think would happen?

    • by Dr. Evil (3501) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:56PM (#34272734)

      Look at the Wiki:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Prisoner_population_rate_UN_HDR_2007_2008.PNG [wikipedia.org]

      The U.S. just has a different spin on "freedom". Did you catch the video of the TSA assaulting the 3-year-old and the father standing helplessly while it happened for fear of being arrested? Do you suppose in China they watch videos of Americans being waterboarded, or stories about U.K. police gunning innocent people down in the subway?

      There's no shortage of ugly propaganda on both sides. Don't think China is so bad, and don't think the U.S. is so good. It's all somewhere in the middle, on both sides.

      • by martas (1439879)

        It's all somewhere in the middle, on both sides.

        hammer(Nail::head), sir! Combine this with the fact that black and white logic is oh-so-attractive, and you have yourself the root cause of many failures of public discourse.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Pstrobus (149491)

        It is in the middle but unless they are EXACTLY at the same position in the middle, one is closer to A than the other.

        Dumping everything into the "it's all grey" category and ignoring every difference is just as stupid as assigning the Good/Bad label as if they were absolutes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It is just as bad, it's just not the same kind of bad. China is very public about their activities, whereas western nations prefer smear campaigns, false charges, and complex bureaucratic procedures to blunt the minds of their critics and dampen or perhaps entirely dissipate, protest of its policies. Just because China does in public what other countries do in private does not make the other countries worse.

      The United States has the highest per capita imprisonment rate of any first world country, and a larg

  • by Myji Humoz (1535565) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:25PM (#34272242)
    What would happen if someone tweeted a "joke" about a bomb threat in the EU or the USA?

    Oh that's right, they get a visit by their friendly neighborhood police officers. http://boingboing.net/2010/11/13/twitter-users-re-twe.html

    This is probably front page news because we clearly all hate China, and Twitter is involved. In full seriousness, relying on the humor of law enforcement/secret police to keep you out of trouble is a bad bet. Relying on that sense of humor when seemingly inciting violence against a nation with whom ties are already strained is an even worse bet. Is this seriously anything new or surprising?
    • by Microlith (54737)

      Except the person in question didn't even write the tweet. It was a retweet that mocked a bunch of protesters. She was targeted because her tiny comment didn't serve the purposes of the CCP.

      And your link shows what happens when the law in the US and UK try to pull that shit. People don't cow down quietly, they mock the government loudly for their stupidity (also, the UK has fucked up laws.)

      This is probably front page news because we clearly all hate China
      Now now, don't go stuffing words in the mouth of all

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:34PM (#34272382) Journal

      Its one thing to post a joke bomb threat and have the cops show up. Possibly give you some misdemeanor.

      Its another thing to post a joke and have the cops pick you up and put you in a labour camp.

    • What would happen if someone tweeted a "joke" about a bomb threat in the EU or the USA?

      The woman is a "human rights activist" who was "detained in the past for several other 'crimes,' including criticising China's Communist Party".

      Clearly, in order to make an accurate comaprison, you would have to replace "someone" in your argument with say... Julian Assange.

    • So in your mind, originating a threat via twitter is the same as re-tweeting a joke about protesters? Clearly they are identical situations.

      It is also identical where the threatener received a fine versus getting locked up for a year of hard labor.

      Yup, identical situation.

      • My point is that this is hardly front page news, as events like this happen all the time in China. They have a much different threshold for punishment than we have in the US or in the EU.

        However, making jokes about threats of ANY kind is a bad idea. It doesn't matter if it is a tweet, a retweet, a blog post, a text message, a letter, etc. In this day an age, it doesn't matter where you are. Threats against the government or against entities the government cares about is a Bad Idea(tm).

        Of course, many prefer
  • {Yawn} (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chordonblue (585047) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:28PM (#34272292) Journal

    Who cares about the human cost as long as we can continue to get cheap electronics, right?

    • by Joehonkie (665142)
      I *do* like cheap electronics!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by phorm (591458)

      So what type of device are you posting on, and where do you think it and/or the majority of its components are made?

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:58PM (#34272760)

      I get a little tired of the bitching about China's human rights problems not because they aren't problems, but because people seem to just like to bitch rather than suggest what might be done. See the US can't just make China play nice and respect human rights that movie about Team America: World Police was a comedy/satire, not a documentary, if the puppets didn't give that away. The US can't just police China.

      Now, the US could of course do things like refuse to trade or embargo China. Ok, ignoring any consequences to the US itself, what makes you think that would work? What evidence is there that wold do any good? It has been tried time and time again and never seems to improve conditions in countries, only make them worse. That isn't to say it cannot be a useful tool for security related issues, but it doesn't seem to do anything good human rights related.

      In fact a rather strong argument can be made that the only way China will get better at human rights is if their own citizens demand it. They will have to force the change internally. Like with most things in human nature, people have to want to change before you can help them change. You can then also argue the best thing that the US can do for that is to keep as much free and open trade as possible. With free trade comes free information. though the Central Committee might not like it, they can't just cut off the flow of information, it would hurt business.

      Free trade with China is producing dramatic increases in the standard of living for many people, and has actually improved the human rights situation from what it was. It is far, FAR from good but it is a hell of a lot better than when the great leap "forward" happened.

      There's a strong argument that the best thing we can do is just to trade freely and make all our information and culture available. If you've a different suggestion then let's hear it as well as the defense for it, but please less with the hand-wringing.

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:31PM (#34272336)

    Paradoxically, the Chinese leadership's need to quell
    even the slightest expression of dissent, or the slightest expression of
    free-thinkng, simply telegraphs the inherent weakness and illegitimacy
    of their system of government. If the government is truly legitimate, is
    truly based on the consent of the people, then it does not require such
    measures. The most legitimate form of government is that which requires
    the least repression of individual expression and will while still being able
    to function in a stable manner.

     

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:33PM (#34272356)

    She has been detained in the past for several other 'crimes,' including criticising China's Communist Party.

    So in the USA the Republicans would be locked up for criticizing the Democrats, and the Democrats would be locked up for criticizing the Republicans. With almost everybody locked up, who could work as prison guards? I guess this could be solved with some H-1B visas.

    • So in the USA the Republicans would be locked up for criticizing the Democrats, and the Democrats would be locked up for criticizing the Republicans.

      Go on...

    • As long as you put all your new prisons along the beaches - I don't think Canada would mind holding down the fort till you all get out of jail.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I am intrigued by your proposal and wish to subscribe to your newsletter...
  • by Aussenseiter (1241842) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:34PM (#34272378)
    Its populace is in a frightening situation, where speaking out against the regime is often a criminal activity. Its economy feeds off itself and other countries, and is reflected strongly to foreign markets, but the smoke-and-mirrors reality draws many comparisons to Cold War Russia, specifically its unsustainable growth and complete disregard for things like environment and human safety. Its foreign policy is bullheaded and unrepentant - and they get away with it, because the rest of the world admonishes it with one hand and spoon-feeds it with the other.
  • Still better than... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:41PM (#34272494)

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/11/18/pakistan.blasphemy/index.html?hpt=C1

    "This month a Pakistani court sentenced Isham's mother, 45 year old Asia Bibi, to death, not because killed, injured or stole, but simply because she said something."

    "The town cleric, Qari Muhammad Salim, reported the incident to police who arrested Bibi. After nearly 15 months in prison came her conviction and the death sentence."

    USA's best friends, China and Pakistan. Awesome.

  • With all of the new surveillance requirements of our friendly government and the alphabet soup laws and treaties pushed on us by the **AA, we are not far behind China in this.

  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:45PM (#34272576) Homepage
    Because "Being an anti-government activist lands Chinese woman in labour camp" isn't nearly exciting enough.
    • I would hope that the human rights abuses in China are well known enough that "Being an anti-government activist lands Chinese woman in labour camp" isn't shocking news to anyone here.
  • But (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Korveck (1145695) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @03:47PM (#34272620)
    If the government don't lock up disruptive individuals who cause public unrest. The harmony in the country will be gone, and the whole economy will tank. Personal freedom is a small price to pay for a thriving economy. Look at the US and Europe now. Their freedom of expression mires them in endless internal silly arguments while not solving any pressing problem.

    This is actually a popular view in China and the party actively promotes it. Our increasingly frustrating politics make it more and more believable.
  • Serious question here. Do people assigned to these re-education camps actually come out thinking that oh, they had it all wrong, and they'll be on the right path once again? Because I have a hard time believing, after nearly 40 years of dealing with people, that this is the result. If anything, I'd believe they come out even more convinced than ever that whatever got them in trouble was right, but more cautious about expressing it.

    I'm talking about what happens in real life, not what happens in Orwell's

  • Meanwhile in the US...

    A Single Shared CD Lands US Woman in Life-Long Bankruptcy

    "A woman in the US has been sentenced to a life of bankruptcy for the crime of 'sharing intellectual property' (which is entirely banned in the US, but popular nontheless). Jammie Thomas-Rasset had shared a few Songs with other people. She has been tried and convicted in the past for several other 'thought crimes,' all involving infringement of US's Recording Party's so called "imaginary property rights".

    Different countried, diff

  • A Single Re-Tweet and a History of Human Rights Activism Lands Chinese Woman in Labor Camp

    There, fixed that for you

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