Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cartoonist Wang Liming Detained for Rumor About Yuyao, Sina Weibo Censors Searches for "Rebel Pepper"

Beijing Times Article
On October 18, 2013, the state sponsored Beijing Times published an article entitled "Cartoonist 'Rebel Pepper' Police Summons Supposedly Related to His Reposting Information on Yuyao Infant Starving to Death - Left Police Station After 7 PM Yesterday" (漫画家“变态辣椒”被北京警方传唤疑和传播余姚婴儿被饿死有关 昨晚7点多离开派出所). Some excerpts:
Shortly after 11 pm night-before-last, cartoonist Wang Liming (known online as "Rebel Pepper") was summoned by police from his home to appear at the Jiangtai Police Station in Chaoyang District. After almost 24 hours of inquiry police confirmed that his Weibo post regarding Yuyao floods were factually false but without malice, and allowed him to leave after 7 pm last night.
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Based on inquiries by the Beijing Times, the Weibo in question that Rebel Pepper posted at 12:12 am on the morning of the 13th has already been deleted, and at 12:30 pm on the 14th the Yuyao Communist Party Propaganda Department posted a notice on its official Tencent Weibo saying "Following an investigation, the contents of Rebel Pepper's Weibo are completely false," "It is hoped that Internet users will be able to view this disaster from a rational and objective perspective, and not believe or spread rumors."
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Wang Lingming said that during their questioning police asked him how he posted the Weibo, examined the cell phone he used to make the post. Last night at 6:30 the police took Wang Liming to an interrogation room, and once against questioned him regarding the specifics of the matter. Wang Liming said that the police told him that their investigation indicated that, while the content of his post was false, it was not made with subjective malice, "its just there were social responsibilities." Afterwards, the police undertook to revoke Wang's summons. At around 7:30 pm last night Wang Liming left the police station, and exclaimed: "It feels really good to get my freedom back." 
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These screenshots show that Sina Weibo began censoring searches for "Rebel Pepper" shortly after he was detained.

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