A Chinese teenager has been detained by police after a message he posted being critical of Chinese law enforcement officials went viral.
As of last week, if a post on the internet that is deemed inaccurate by the state gets either 500 reposts or 5,000 views, the author of the post can be sentence to three years in prison. When the law was enacted, many wondered how strictly it would be enforced. The answer seems to that question seems to be very.
On September 14, a 16-year-old Chinese teenager, whose last name is Yang, criticized Zhangjiachuan County police for their handling of a recent death in the town. Police ruled that the man fell to his death in an accident. The man’s family members, however, claim he was beaten up and thrown from a window. Yang questioned the police’s narrative.
“After the 9/12 Zhangjiachuan murder case happened, the police didn’t act. Worse, they quarreled with the crowds and even beat up the relatives of the deceased,” Yang said. He also said that “police forcibly detained the deceased’s family members, and clashed with the masses” and that “The legal representative of Diamond International KTV [the scene of the death] is Su Jian, the vice president of the Zhangjiachuan County People’s Court.”
His post went viral on the Chinese micro-blogging site Sina Weibo. Days later, Yang was taken into custody by the police. Yang is not the first to be arrested under the new law either. According to Quartz writer Gwynn Guilford, Chinese police have arrested other citizens for mistakes as minor as reporting the death toll of a car accident incorrectly.
With all the fear of internet surveillance going around in America these days, stories like this should remind us all how fortunate we still are.