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Surge Desk

Twitter Message Lands Chinese Woman Yearlong Labor Camp Sentence

Nov 18, 2010 – 2:25 PM
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Steven Hoffer

Steven Hoffer Contributor

(Nov. 18) -- Be careful what you tweet.

Chinese social activist Cheng Jianping -- aka @wangyi09 -- was sentenced to one year of "re-education" in a Chinese labor camp for retweeting a message sent by her fiance, Hua Chunhui, during anti-Japan demonstrations in China last month. The tweet in question, which Hua claims was a joke, ridiculed protesters, regarding their demonstration as "nothing new" and saying that if they actually want to have an "impact they should smash the Japanese Pavilion on the Shanghai Expo," according to the BBC.

Offering her own flair, Cheng added the words "charge, angry youth" and proceeded to retweet the message. Ten days later she was detained and taken to the Shibali River women's labor camp in Zhengzhou city after police arrested her for "disrupting social order."

Hua also told the BBC that since the detainment Cheng has been holding a hunger strike in protest, and he is appealing the case in order to have Cheng released from the camp.

It's no wonder Chinese authorities were already "following" Cheng, as China's Internet-monitoring practices are well-documented, and the 46-year-old Cheng was detained for five days in August after expressing support for China Democracy Party organizer Liu Xianbin. Hua also said that his fiance may have been targeted because she recently signed petitions calling detained Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo's release.

So if you are new to this microblogging trend and are known to be a bit trouble-prone -- Tiger Woods, ahem -- be warned: Twitter is risky business.

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