Communist China has arrested and sentenced a University of Minnesota student to six months of prison over tweets that he posted while he was in the United States of communist dictator Xi Jinping, which were deemed to be derogatory.
“According to an official court document dated Nov. 5, 2019, Chinese police detained 20-year-old Luo Daiqing in July 2019 in Wuhan, his hometown, where the liberal arts major had returned after the end of the spring semester,” Axios reported. “The court document says that ‘in September and October 2018, while he was studying at the University of Minnesota,’ Luo ‘used his Twitter account to post more than 40 comments denigrating a national leader’s image and indecent pictures,’ which ‘created a negative social impact.'”
Luo was sentenced to six months in prison in November.
Axios noted that the case represented a “dramatic escalation of the Chinese government’s attempts to shut down free speech abroad, and a global expansion of a Chinese police campaign a year ago to track down Twitter users in China who posted content critical of the Chinese government.
Axios identified the following tweet as being one of the alleged tweets that led to Luo’s arrest:
— L'étranger1111 (@REQWWER111) October 18, 2018
Axios noted that Luo also allegedly retweeted this tweet featuring Xi as Winnie the Pooh, which is banned in China:
— 即物哀觀 (@lunkertw) April 16, 2019
The arrest is just the latest move by the communist nation to crackdown on freedom outside of its borders that it finds offensive.
Last last year, the NBA was punished by China after one of its team managers posted a tweet expressing support for the Hong Kong protesters.
The Washington Post reported in October:
The American public was outraged this week when the Chinese government severely punished the Houston Rockets and the National Basketball Association over one pro-Hong Kong tweet. The NBA was caught between its financial incentives and the American values that underpin its reputation, namely defending free speech and human rights. Soon, all Americans might find themselves in the same bind.
Every major U.S. corporation that does business in China is now trying to balance the financial benefits against the risks. For years, few financial managers factored in human rights. But as Beijing becomes more repressive at home and more aggressive about enforcing political loyalty abroad, that calculation is changing.
At the time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded: “I think American businesses are waking up to the risks. It may seem that [doing business in China] makes profit in the short run, but the cost, the reputational cost to these companies, I think, will prove to be higher and higher as Beijing’s long arm reaches out to them.”
A separate 2017 report from The Washington Post highlighted more threats posed by China:
Washington is waking up to the huge scope and scale of Chinese Communist Party influence operations inside the United States, which permeate American institutions of all kinds. China’s overriding goal is, at the least, to defend its authoritarian system from attack and at most to export it to the world at America’s expense.
The foreign influence campaign is part and parcel of China’s larger campaign for global power, which includes military expansion, foreign direct investment, resource hoarding, and influencing international rules and norms. But this part of China’s game plan is the most opaque and least understood. Beijing’s strategy is first to cut off critical discussion of China’s government, then to co-opt American influencers in order to promote China’s narrative.