A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to six months in prison for a series of tweets he posted while in the United States, according to a Chinese court document, reviewed by the Axios website.
Some of the detained student’s tweets contained cartoon images and text that apparently offended a “national leader.”
According to an official court document dated Nov. 5, 2019, Chinese police arrested Luo Daiqing, 20, in July 2019 in his hometown of Wuhan after he returned from the end of the spring semester.
The court document states, “In September and October 2018, while studying at the University of Minnesota” Luo “used his Twitter account to post more than 40 comments denigrating the image of a national leader and indecent photos,” which “created a negative social impact.”
After months of detention, Luo was sentenced in November 2019 to six months in prison for “provocation.”
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called on the Chinese regime on Wednesday night to release Luo. “This is what ruthless and paranoid totalitarianism looks like,” Sasse said according to Fox9.
“The Chinese Communist Party ought to release Luo Daiqing immediately, and the University of Minnesota ought to give him a full-ride scholarship. Don’t forget that the Chinese Communist Party has banned Twitter, so the only people who even saw these tweets were the goons charged with monitoring Chinese citizens while they’re enjoying freedom here in the United States. This is what ruthless and paranoid totalitarianism looks like,” said Sasse.
It is only normal that such episodes of censorship and punishment should occur within the territory of mainland China, since freedom of expression is a right that has been totally trampled on by the communist regime. However, when this happens to someone living abroad, it raises an alert about the global expansion of the Chinese campaign of persecution against dissident voices.
Users of Twitter or other social networks who have posted content critical of the Chinese regime at some point in their country of residence are likely to be apprehended when they visit or return to communist China.
Chinese students in the United States and other countries know that they may be subject to surveillance. That is why many have become increasingly reluctant to publicly criticize the Chinese regime or attend pro-democracy events.
At events in support of Falun Dafa, a spiritual discipline brutally persecuted by the Chinese communist regime, many Chinese are afraid to take information materials or listen to Falun Dafa practitioners who approach them to speak out because of their fear of being monitored, and even fear that their families in China will suffer the consequences if the Chinese police learn that while they were abroad they demonstrated in support of Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong.