Criminalization of speech

The following post by Su Xiaohe (苏小和), which comments on the case of civil rights lawyer and former CMP fellow Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), was deleted sometime before 1:30pm yesterday, December 14, 2015. The post compares Pu’s case with the criminalization of speech during the Cultural Revolution. Pu has been charged with “inciting ethnic hatred” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” on the basis of seven Weibo posts. [Explore more deleted posts by using the Weiboscope, created by the Journalism & Media Studies Centre.]

A translation of the post follows:

If one can be convicted by several Weibo posts, then every Weibo user is guilty, and everyone should be imprisoned. During the Cultural Revolution, people were killed because they wrote complaints on the wall. This can count as the first instance of “guilt by Weibo.” So, let’s wait for the trial result and then we can conclude whether or not this country has made any progress in terms of civilisation since the Cultural Revolution.

The original post in Chinese:

如果因为发了几条微博就被定罪,那么每个微博使用者都有罪,每个人都应该被抓进去。文革时,有人因为在墙壁上随便写了几句牢骚之语,就被杀头。这算是最早期的“微博之罪”吧。所以,等待判决结果,然后就能下结论,这个国家从文革到现在,到底有没有一点点文明的改进。

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