Arrested for satirical SMS message in Chongqing

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the time of stunning advances in communication and self-expression thanks to technology, and it was the time of mind-numbingly stupid and fear-inducing censorship.

Chongqing recently announced plans to target libel, satire, and other uncivilized behavior online. In a case unrelated to this new rule, a Chongqing man is facing three years in prison for writing a satirical poem and sending it to friends via SMS and QQ.

In mid-August, reports Southern Weekly, Qin Zhongfei wrote a few lines of poetry satirizing local leaders and a few public works boondoggles. Thinking it fairly amusing, Qin sent it off to “10-15 friends” via SMS and another “4-6 friends” via QQ instant message service. He was arrested for his troubles, since officials felt that the poem could cause social unrest and might harm business for Pengshui if too many people got wind of it.

Click the link to see how Southern Weekly has covered the story – the article is a painful reminder that CR-style political correctness, where a single harmless comment can result in the unexpected knock on the door in the middle of the night by the PSB, isn’y completely dead. It’s great that this article can be published (though Southern Weekly has had its own door knocked on by the PSB more than once) and that so many are willing to speak about it with the media. As I said, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It all depends on which side of the fence you sit.

The Discussion: One Comment

This is so ridiculous, even for the CCP. It’s high time Chinese politicians removed the stick from their arses and stopped being so vain!

October 20, 2006 @ 10:04 pm | Comment

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