In the United States, we often lament the censorship that is committed by Big Tech companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Google. But our concerns are infinitesimal compared to the suppression of thought and Draconian policies the people of China face. University of Minnesota student Luo Daiqing is learning about this first-hand after being sentenced to six months in prison over unflattering Tweets about Chinese President Xi Jinping.
While studying in the U.S., Luo created a Twitter account that has since been deleted. Was he Tweeting manifestos opposing communism or calls for revolution? No. He was Tweeting memes and cartoons that weren’t flattering to President. Here are a couple of the things he retweeted:
— 即物哀觀 (@lunkertw) April 16, 2019
— L'étranger1111 (@REQWWER111) October 18, 2018
Lest we forget, Twitter is blocked in China. While it’s true that many circumvent the block, the number of Chinese citizens who may have seen Luo’s Tweets is tiny. He isn’t a public figure or a popular opposition personality. He’s a young adult who was studying in the United States and Tweeting nothing of major consequence. For that, he was incarcerated and will continue to serve a six-month term, forever labeled as a felon in his homeland. One of his biggest crimes, as noted in court documents, was the Tweet above that morphed Winnie the Pooh into a Xi version. Winnie the Pooh is not welcome in Communist China.
Senator Ben Sasse called for his release:
The Chinese Communist Party ought to release Luo Daiqing immediately, and the University of Minnesota ought to give him a full-ride scholarship. Don’t forget that the Chinese Communist Party has banned Twitter, so the only people who even saw these tweets were the goons charged with monitoring Chinese citizens while they’re enjoying freedom here in the United States. This is what ruthless and paranoid totalitarianism looks like.
Outrageous. Arrested there for tweets here.
The USG must do a better job of explaining v explicitly the dangers the CCP poses to Americans. https://t.co/EKISuGDlAq
— Rebeccah Heinrichs (@RLHeinrichs) January 23, 2020
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 23, 2020
China’s implementation of their social credit score, which is creeping its way around the world and into the United States, combined with the party’s renewed insistence on keeping the population submissive mean anything that is perceived by the party as critical will likely result in prosecution and prison time. As Axios noted, Luo’s case represents a broadening of their enforcement of their new totalitarian laws.
A University of Minnesota student has been arrested in China and sentenced to six months in prison for tweets he posted while in the United States, according to a Chinese court document viewed by Axios. Some of the tweets contained images deemed to be unflattering portrayals of a “national leader.”
Why it matters: The case represents a dramatic escalation of the Chinese government’s attempts to shut down free speech abroad, and a global expansion of a Chinese police campaign a year ago to track down Twitter users in China who posted content critical of the Chinese government.
People like Mike Bloomberg, Lebron James, and other China apologists will remain silent about the Communist Party’s actions. Be wary of those who refuse to see that China’s policies oppose freedom of thought, as they may want to bring those policies here.