Monday, September 24, 2012

Peng Hong Posts an Image, Gets Two Years RETL for Defamation

On September 9, 2012, the state-sponsored Global Times published an English language article entitled "Forced Labor Forces Rethink." An excerpt:
Peng Hong, from Chongqing, was put into a local camp in October 14, 2009 when his wife was six months pregnant, after he forwarded a picture implicitly showing local officials serving as "umbrellas" for criminal gangs on an Internet forum. 
In an interview with the Global Times, Peng stated that he had copied the picture from other online forums and was not the creator of the picture. However, this excuse was rejected by the police and he was not released until November 2011. Peng said that he is now attempting to sue the local re-education through labor committee.
Peng Hong (彭洪) went into more detail in an interview with the state-sponsored Southern People Weekly (南方人物周刊) in an article entitled "Peng Hong Gets Two Years Re-Education Through Labor for Posting an 'Anti-Mafia' Picture." (彭洪 贴“打黑”图片被劳教两年)
The image's original source was Tianya Chongqing. It was an image attached to a post. I subsequently copied the image onto a post and reposted it in Tianya Chongqing. The title of my post was "What a strange umbrella," and I didn't add any other content. Right after I posted it, a small frame popped up in left-hand corner of my screen, telling me to go to the Public Security Office's Internet Supervision Bureau to explain myself.
I was using my home computer. I was stunned. I certainly didn't dare go, so I didn't go. Afterwards, I just completely forgot about the affair, totally forgot about it. This happened on about September 20. Then around October 11 or 12, police from the Internet Supervision Bureau and the Lijia police station came to my home. They told me to go to  the police station, and asked what my opinion was about this movement, and what clues I could report. At the time I didn't know the truth (how could I) that things would develop as they did. No I see they were leading me on. I just said that society need a clean political environment in order to avoid so-called strange things from happening, like the mafia. At that time things in Chongqing public security really were a mess. 
. . . . 
And then they got back to the point, asking whether I recalled making that post online, and showed it to me. They asked me how do you feel about this umbrella picture. On the Internet they're saying that Wen Qiang on this umbrella looks a bit like Mayor X. I said yeah, people online are suggesting that, that's what they're saying. It was trapping me into a confession. I gave them my fingerprints, signed my name, and at that time I didn't know this was going to be evidence, I simply had no idea at how serious things were going to become. 
On the 14th they arrested me. They confiscated my computer and my cell phone, and only returned them several months later. The Yubei District Jail. I was detained two or three days, then sent to the Renhe Re-education Through Labor Transit Station. I was held there about two days. On October 19 a car took me to the Beibei Xishanping Re-education Through Labor Camp. 
In jail they gave me a copy of the Re-education Through Labor Decision, the reason was defamation. Afterwards during re-education through labor they gave out student cards, and mine said defamation.  
. . . . 
[After I got out] I went online to find a lawyer. I found one, but there was no result. The lawyer took the case, but the court would not accept the case. I first went to the Municipal Public Security Office Re-education Through Labor Committee. Because I did not have a copy of the Re-education Through Labor Decision, I had to go to the Committee to get it, and only then could I go to court to file a complaint. But I couldn't even get in the front door of the Public Security Office. 
They said you need to find the initiating work unit, and work up one level at a time. After that I went through the Jingkai District Public Security Office. At the time the person who took me into custody was with the Jingkai District Public Security Office, which is now called the Northern New District Public Security Office. When I go to the front door I suddenly realized I had the phone number of the Re-education Through Labor Committee on my cell phone. So I called and said I was at the door of the Office. They said I first had to go to the local jail. 
So I went to the jail. I explained my situation to the police. At the time they said, ah its you! They all felt I'd really been been getting the runaround. They were about to give it to me, when they checked the computer and saw that, the "defamed" was not Wang Lijun, was not Bo Xilai, but was former Mayor XXX. Their attitude immediately changed. They said sorry, we've got to ask instructions from the jail's leaders. So the whole thing came to nothing. They wouldn't give it to me. They made excuses, one minute saying it had been filed away, the next minute saying they couldn't find it, they needed to ask instructions from the branch office . . . . a few days later, my lawyer and I went to the jail together, and they were still passing the buck. The Re-education Through Labor Committee told me to talk to the jail, the jail told me to talk to the Re-education Through Labor Committee. My lawyer tried calling them, but they would not give it.

On September 13, 2012, the Xiaoxiang Morning Post published a report entitled: "Sentenced to Two Years Re-Education Through Labor for an Anti-Mafia 'Umbrella Protection' Image, Chongqing Rescinds Original Re-Education Through Labor Decision, Police Say Its an'Internal Correction'" (因转发打黑“保护伞”图片被劳教两年,重庆撤销原劳教决定,警方称可“内部纠错”). An excerpt:
On the 12th, this reporter contacted Peng Hong, he said that he already received the Re-Education Through Labor Decision Recision from the Chongqing Government's Re-Education Through Labor Committee. The Decision stated: "Following an investigation, the original Re-Education Through Labor Decision was inappropriate, and in accordance with the provisions of Clause 2 of Article 12 of the "Interim Measures on Re-Education Through Labor," it is decided to rescind Peng Hong's original Re-Education Through Labor Decision."