One man has discovered why you should never joke about ISIS on Chinese social media.
On the night of September 4th, 2016, a 31-year-old migrant worker pseudonymed Zhang Qiang was chatting on WeChat inside a rented room in Beijing’s Changping District. The Paper reports that in one WeChat group, Zhang posted a picture of Osama Bin Laden. Another user responded, “Look, the big man has come,” causing Zhang to joke, “Come join ISIS with me.” He received no response to this comment and the group went on to another topic.
About one month later, on October 13th, Zhang was summoned by the Changping District Public Security Bureau and arrested on suspicion of spreading terrorist propaganda. Investigators checked through Zhang’s mobile phone and computer, but found no more evidence or remarks supporting extremism.
However, that single jest was more than enough to get Zhang in some serious trouble. On May 22nd, 2017, Beijing’s First Intermediate People’s Court began hearing his case. On June 13th, the court found Zhang guilty of violating China’s anti-terrorism law, sentencing him to nine months in prison and fining him 1,000 yuan. Details of the case were only released recently.
Afterward, a lawyer spoke to Worker’s Daily, reminding all citizens that in public places and on online platforms, you must pay attention to your words and actions.
With more than 100 Chinese Muslims reported to have joined the Islamic State in the Middle East, China has always taken any mention or hint of ISIS extremely seriously. In 2015, a “curious” man was arrested in Jinan for downloading and watching ISIS videos, while a Shenzhen clothing boutique was compelled to change its name following a police investigation.
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