Thursday, July 3, 2014

Internet User Jailed Five Days for Saying "Police Really Suck"

On May 15, 2014, China’s official news agency Xinhua published a report entitled “Chinese Police Apologize for Alleged Power Abuse.” Some excerpts:
Traffic police in Yanzhou City wrote out a ticket on April 28 and posted it on a car illegally parked by the roadside. In response, the car owner, surnamed Cao, posted "Yanzhou police really suck!" (兖州交警真孬种) on a local Internet forum.

In a statement posted on Tuesday on its official account with microblogging service Sina Weibo, the Public Security Bureau of Yanzhou said that Cao had "publicly insulted the police of the people and produced a very bad impact on the society," and consequently had been put into custody for five days as punishment.

At the end of the statement, police warned the public that any words and comments on the Internet, even under a pseudonym, could be traced, and that anyone who breaks the law must be brought to justice.
. . . .
Late on Wednesday, Yanzhou police put up another post on Sina Weibo, saying Cao's detention was improper and that they had decided to withdraw the punishment and apologize to him. In the meantime, officers involved in the case would be taken to account.

Liu Min, a lawyer with Beijing-based Yingke Law Firm, said it was baseless in legal terms to detain Cao over his verbal misconduct. "It is misuse of power by authorities," Liu said.

However, the lawyer noted that Cao's written attack on the police went beyond freedom of speech.
In a report published on May 15, the state sponsored Southern Metropolis Daily provided other examples of similar cases of Internet users being subject to administrative detention for criticizing law enforcement authorities:
In March 2010, an Internet user in Jieyang using the name "Baojingren" had a friend whose motorcycle had been confiscated by the police, and could not get it back. Baojingren published a post casting suspicion upon and cursing all police officers at the police station. The post included wording such as "swine, cretans, thieves." Afterwards that Internet user was subjected to five days administrative detention by the Jieyang public security bureau.

In August 2013, the Wudangshan public security bureau subjected a Mr. Xue to five days administrative detention because he had published posts with "rumors," claiming seven people had died in a car accident, when in fact only three people had died. Mr. Xue became the first person detained in the Shiyan police's Internet crime campaign against those who "spread rumors online."


In August 2013, a traffic accident occurred 140 meters from the 305 km marker on Highway 310 in Dangshan, Anhui, resulting in 10 fatalities and 5 injuries. Internet user Yu Hemi published a post on his Weibo stating "the accident caused 16 fatalities." As a result the local police held him for five days for "spreading rumors." Following media reports, on August 29, the local police admitted that the detention was inappropriate and revoked the administrative sanctions against him, and apologized.

2013年8月,310国道安徽砀山段305km +140m处发生一起交通事故,共造成10人死亡,5人受伤。网民于和玉在其个人微博发布“事故造成16人死亡”的消息,被当地公安认定“散布谣言”而拘留5日。媒体报道后,8月29日,当地警方承认拘留处罚不妥,撤销了对其做出的行政处罚决定,并致歉。