Chinese Authorities Target Speech on Twitter in Criminalizing Free ExpressionComments Off on Chinese Authorities Target Speech on Twitter in Criminalizing Free Expression
Beijing activist Quan Shixin (全世欣)has been indicted and faces trial on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” for using Twitter to comment on the Hong Kong protests. According to her lawyer, Beijing prosecutors accused her of using Twitter since 2019 to “distribute a large amount of false information that seriously disrupted social order.” Haidian District police criminally detained Quan, 41, on July 25, 2019 and formally arrested her on August 31. She is being held at Haidian District Detention Center.
In two earlier cases involving criminal punishment of online expression, authorities also largely relied on the defendants’ Tweets for conviction.
- In Shandong, Pingyi County Court convicted Wang Yong (王勇), 49, on January 20, 2020, of “picking quarrels” and sentenced him to 10 months in prison. The court claimed he had “disseminated 1,200 unsuitable comments [on Twitter] that were anti-Party and anti-communist, insulted and defamed the country’s leaders, and incited Taiwan independence, which seriously disrupted public order.” Wang had initially been detained on August 14, 2019 and arrested on September 19. He is being held at Pingyi County Detention Center.
- In Henan, Xinmi City Court convicted Gao Jinbiao (高锦标), 31, on December 26, 2019, of “picking quarrels” and sentenced him to two years in prison. The court ruled that “on Twitter he disseminated large amount of anti-Party, anti-government, and anti-country speech, pictures and videos” between 2017 and April 2019, which “ seriously harmed the national image and national interests.” Xinmi police initially administratively detained Gao on March 1, 2019 and formally arrested him on April 17. He lost his appeal on January 17, 2020.
Renee Xia, Director (Mandarin, English), +1 863 866 1012, reneexia[at]nchrd.org
Frances Eve, Deputy Director of Research (English), +1 661 240 9177, franceseve[at]nchrd.org
Leo Lan, Research & Advocacy Consultant (Mandarin, Cantonese, English), Signal: +852 9623 3023, leolan[at]nchrd.org