Chinese blogger arrested over joke about party congress

China Featured - November 22nd, 2012
thumb

A Chinese blogger was arrested after posting a comment poking fun of the country’s Communist Party, suggesting that the government’s grip has grown even tighter with the leadership transition.

Zhai Xiaobing tweeted on his account that the next movie in the “Final Destination” horror franchise would be about the Great Hall of the People collapsing on party delegates. He went on to write the plot as “killing all but seven of the 2000 people meeting there. Later, one-by-one the survivors die in strange ways. Is this God playing games, or the Devil venting his wrath?”

“An earthshaking experience premieres globally on Nov. 8!” The week-long once-a-decade leadership transition began Nov. 8.

Mr. Zhai was arrested and his computer seized on Nov. 7 from his home in Miyun county in northeastern Beijing. Police told AP he was being investigated for “spreading terrorist information”.

Liu Yanping, an assistant of dissident artist Ai Weiwei and a friend of Mr. Zhai’s, told Wall Street Journal that it was possible authorities were already following his every move.

“The 18th Party Congress is a hypersensitive period, so I think they used the opportunity of that tweet to grab him,” Mr. Liu said.

Friends and activists launched an online petition to release Mr. Zhai. “We solemnly request that Beijing police find a little sense of humor and not make a big deal out of nothing,” it said.