A 46-year old woman named Cheng Jianping has just been sentenced to a year of reeducation at a labor camp for retweeting a satirical message mocking anti-Japanese protesters who’ve been causing a ruckus over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.
The tweet originally belonged to her fiance, Hua Chunhui. He explains, “…I posted [a] message on Twitter, satirically saying that if they [anti-Japanese protesters] really want to do something big, they should just get on a plane and attack the Japan pavilion at the expo. Of course, that is not possible.”
On October 17, Cheng under username wangyi09, retweeted the post and added “Angry youth, charge!” taking a pot shot at the protesters. Police arrested the couple separately, but while Hua was released five days later, Cheng was given a harsh labor camp sentence for “disrupting social order.”
Cheng and her fiance, Hua Chunhui, are both political activists and Hua believes they’ve been targeted for their activism. “My personal opinion is that this sentencing wasn’t about this one statement. The government wants to make an example of us activists…The government doesn’t like what we do. We actively communicate with other Chinese activists and celebrated on Twitter Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel prize.”
“Sentencing someone to a year in a labor camp, without trial, for simply repeating another person’s clearly satirical observation on Twitter demonstrates the level of China’s repression of online expression,” Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director Sam Zarifi said in a statement.
Cheng has already arrived at the re-education camp in central Henan since Wednesday evening. Hua has been told he is not allowed to visit his fiance whom he was set to marry at the beginning of this month. He’s currently attempting to appeal Cheng’s case, asking for medical parole for Cheng, who has high blood pressure.