Chinese Police Arrest Woman for Supporting Liu Xiaobo on Twitter
According to the Guardian, freelance designer Mou Yanxi was reportedly targeted by Chinese police after posting a tweet about her plans to support Liu at an upcoming demonstration. "If there is really an anti-Japanese demonstration in Chongqing, I will carry a banner saying 'Congratulations, Uncle Xiaobo!'," the tweet reads. The demonstration to which Mou referred took place yesterday in southwest China, and was originally incited by an ongoing maritime dispute between China and Japan. Some protesters in Chongqing used the occasion as a platform to rally support for unrelated causes, but it's unclear whether Mou was serious about attending in support of Liu. The Chinese government, however, clearly took her at her word.
Blogger Zhang Shijie later confirmed, via Twitter, that authorities had seized Mou from her home around 2:30 a.m. A subsequent tweet from user @newsinchina revealed that the young woman had returned home, but that police had kept her cell phone and computer. "Reminder for those who want to send her DM, emails or text messages – be cautious," he tweeted. The Guardian tried to contact Mou on her cell phone, but it was turned off. When asked about Mou's detention, an officer at the local police station denied knowledge of the case.
Zhang, meanwhile, offered a similarly ominous warning to his online brethren who may inadvertently find themselves on the wrong end of China's crackdown. "If such behavior goes on, it will eventually happen to all of us," the blogger wrote. Zhang later said that Chinese police had personally warned him against attending the demonstration, and had advised him to mind his Ps and Qs on Twitter.
It's uncertain whether or not Chinese authorities actually considered Mou a legitimate threat to the country's tightly regulated domestic order, but they certainly reaffirmed their hard-line position against political dissent. Ever since China denounced the Nobel Prize Committee's decision as an "obscenity," the government has been under enormous international pressure to soften its stance on Liu Xiaobo, and to at least allow his wife to accept the award on his behalf. In response, though, the country has only reaffirmed its totalitarian position with greater vehemence. And, as Mou Yanxi found out, it clearly doesn't want anyone questioning it.