First Human Rights Test Comes in Form of Dark Drama

The news came last night (Beijing Time) that @Stariver , a regular Twitter user based in Miyun, Beijing (北京密云)  was detained on November 7th, possibly for tweeting this tweet midnight, November 5th:

#SpoilerTweet  #Enter-at-your-own-peril  “Final Destination 6” has arrived. In which the Great Hall of the People collapses all of a sudden. All 2,000+ people meeting there died except for 7 of them. But afterwards, the seven die one after another in bizarre ways. Is it a game of God, or the wrath of Death? How will 18, the mysterious number, unlock the gate of Hell? Premieres globally on November the 8th to bring you an earthshaking experience!

Two Beijing women who visited his home in Miyun reported last night that @Stariver was taken away by police in the morning of the 7th, giving the reason that a tweet of his was “involved in spreading false and terrible information”,  and he is currently held in the detention center of Miyun County. His family has not been able to see him since the 7th.

Over the last few days, people close to @Stariver (who may not know him personally) have been asking about his whereabouts and calling for his return. There were suspicions that something had happened to him, but then someone said he was visiting his ailing grandfather in countryside.

I myself even tweeted once about him too: “What’s going on? Has the crackdown expanded to the realm of sorcerers and demons?” (Some on Twitter call him the “old sorcerer”.)

In Twitter’s Chinese community, @Stariver is known for his cool and biting comments about current events in China that cut the froth and burst false “hopes”. He is also known for the depth of his knowledge in classics.

Being detained, sentenced to re-education-through-labor, or even given a prison term for a tweet is not new. In 2010, activist Wang Yi (王译) was given one year in re-education-through-labor for a 5-character tweet that said “Go, angry youth!” to mock nationalistic youth. Just recently, a young man named Ren Jianyu (任建宇) challenged the Chongqing government for sentencing him to re-education-through-labor based on his Weibo posts and reposts that were deemed “negative.”

An online petition has been promptly set up to call for @Stariver ’s release, and as you can imagine, Twitter’s Chinese community is again roiled by this ironic, darkish episode.

This would be the first case of a Chinese citizen being penalized for making a joke about the Party’s skittish Congress, a weird test of China’s new leaders who have just shown up, smiled nicely to the world, and scarcely walked off the stage.

P.S. Since last night, I have learned about the identity of @Stariver . His real name is Zhai Xiaobin (翟小兵), born in 1976, studied ancient Chinese literature in the Chinese Department of Peking University, was once a journalist but now works in financial sector. And he’s also an amateur martial art coach.  One of the two women who went to Miyun to look for him tweeted that, “I’ve only met Star River once. He’s tall, polite with smile on his face… He has a happy family. A caring father, he does homework with his daughter every day.” Another Twitter user described him as a “gentleman” who, over a dinner party, offered food to ladies and poured tea for them.

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About Yaxue Cao

I grew up in Northern China during the Cultural Revolution, came to the United States in the early 1990s to study literature and stayed. I have been writing stories about China, exploring both my own experiences and those of others against the larger picture of Communist China. You can find my work on Amazon.com, and new works are being added periodically.
This entry was posted in Current Events, Human Rights & Civil Rights Movement and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to First Human Rights Test Comes in Form of Dark Drama

  1. theInnocent says:

    I am sad to hear about this.
    I also “involved in spreading false and terrible information” last year ,and prisoned for 7 days …

  2. He must be a sharp cookie and very smart guy with a brave and humor heart, free him

  3. Pingback: Mixed News on Netizen Detentions - China Digital Times (CDT)

  4. Yaxue Cao says:

    Latest according to 维权网: “Strong reaction to Zhai Xiaobin’s case caused the security police in Miyun to panic. On Monday, November 19th, they found Zhai’s wife and threatened her to give the names, contact information of netizens who had met her. They wanted to know what these netizens had told her to do. They took away her cell phone, warning her not to get online, or she would be treated as an accomplice and detained.”

    “外界的强烈关注引起密云国保的恐慌,11月19日密云县国保找到翟小兵的妻子进行威胁,让她交出找过她的网友名字,联系方式,交代网友支过什么招数,交出手机,让她今后不要上网,否则将视为同案犯进去等。”

    http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2012/11/blog-post_20.html?spref=tw

  5. Anonymous says:

    You Are stupid japenesssesehyf

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