The resident of Ningde city in the southeastern province of Fujian questioned the Chinese state’s pursuit of socialism and called for constitutional reforms.
In February this year, Ye Zhenhui (pseudonym) shared his comments on a WeChat group that included five others. He wrote that China has deviated from its goal of pursuing “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and needed constitutional reforms to regain popular support. He also shared his opinion on how religion, politics and universal values can be used to develop a 21st century China.
However, in May, two police officers from showed up at Mr. Ye’s home and without presenting a warrant, escorted him to the local police station.
The police confiscated his cell phone and threatened him that if he posted comments on WeChat again, he will be arrested and detained. They added that if anyone in the county posts their personal opinion on social media, the government would cut the town’s funding. Mr. Ye was forced to sign on a written “guarantee not to comment on social media” before he was let go.
His nightmare did not end there; the Education Bureau convened a meeting of teachers in the area and revoked Mr. Ye’s right to teach any significant course.
Mr. Ye has previously worked as a reporter for the county’s Party committee. However, after his employer discovered that he was a Christian, his candidacy for tenure was cancelled.
According to reports, the CCP has launched and is creating new initiatives to control public opinions online. Bitter Winter recently reported on a confidential document adopted in Henan, which proposes to carry out “transformation through education” work online by targeting opinion leaders, including scholars, celebrities and pop stars. Anyone who posts “harmful” religious content must be investigated and punished to guide the public opinion, states the document.
Meanwhile, the Chinese state has also been cracking down on reports that present the country in a negative light. For instance, a WeChat account, Caijing Jizhe Zhan, was deactivated permanently for reporting an incident of coffin snatching in Jiangxi. In another case, a Zhejiang based reporter was blacklisted for reporting about the disorder of washrooms at a tourist attraction. He was later removed from the Management Committee Reporters group as well.
Reported by Lin Yijiang