News / Asia

    Chinese Boy Arrested for Spreading Online Rumors Released

    VOA News
    A 16-year-old boy in China is among the first group of bloggers to run afoul of new Chinese laws aiming to crack down on so-called “rumors” online.

    Lawyers for Yang Hui say authorities released him Tuesday after he spent one week in jail in central Gansu province.

    Police detained him on charges of stirring trouble after he posted comments questioning a local investigation into the death of a karaoke manager, whose body was found on a local street.

    Police quickly concluded the manager died after falling from a building and closed the case, but skeptical residents held demonstrations to demand an investigation.

    Yang Hui’s detention drew the attention of lawyers and rights activists who championed his case. Wang Shihua, one of his lawyers, said the legal team successfully picked apart the charges.

    “Yang was arrested on charges of picking up quarrels and provoking troubles. Yesterday evening they dropped the charges and turned the case into an administrative punishment, but as Yang is underage and this is the first time he’s put under administrative punishment, detention doesn’t apply and they had to release him” the lawyer said.

    A test for Internet Rumor Law

    On September 14, Yang wrote claiming that three days after the accidental death of the karaoke manager, Zhangjiachuan police had not given any explanation of the incident, media were not reporting it, and demonstrators seeking justice had been beaten.

    In the following days, Yang wrote two more posts, providing photos taken in front of the karaoke establishment where paramilitary police were deployed with shields and sticks.

    His microblog posts were forwarded more than 500 times, making him subject to the new judicial guidelines that say online posts that attract more than 5,000 views or more than 500 reposts can be deemed criminal if they spread information the government considers irresponsible rumors.

    Lawyer Wang Shihua believes Yang’s release is a breakthrough in determining whether the new guidelines on internet rumors are reasonable or not.

    “From this case we can see that this rule is not practical and affects people’s freedom of expression” he said. “This case will have a big impact on the future of the law” Wang said.

    Yang Hu’s case has revived criticism of the law aiming to crack down on so-called ‘rumors’ online enacted by China’s supreme court earlier in September.
    More than 40 prominent lawyers signed a petition online asking for the young boy’s release. Over the weekend, Yang Hui’s name was among the most searched items on Weibo, the local micro blog platform.

    Rachel Lu, a writer at Tea Leaf Nation, a research firm that monitors China’s internet, said this case indicates the many ways the new regulation can be abused.

    “The local governments to clamp down on local protest they are taking this law very seriously and they are willing to use it against people within their jurisdiction,” she said.

    Last week, police reportedly questioned another prominent netizen, who helped expose the case of a corrupt official with an apparent fondness for luxury watches. Blogger Wu Dong’s pictures launched the investigation into Yang Dacai, a local Shanxi officer who was later sentenced to 14 years in prison for taking bribes.

    Impact of legal crackdown

    While many spoke out against the judicial interpretation as a tool to silence debate online and crack down on dissent, there is evidence that the guidelines are proving effective.

    Chinese media recently published data suggesting Weibo activism has decreased.
    “I have spoken to people in charge of monitoring public opinion within the Chinese government and they say our job just got easier because people are not talking that much” said Lu. “This law is working. People have been intimidated”.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora