China is cracking down on its Twitter users, who often publish human rights critics of the Chinese government and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Image: GREG BAKER / AFP / Getty Images
"Twitter Prison" has a different meaning in China.
In most Western countries, if a Twitter user tweets too much, his account is stuck in what is now called "Twitter Prison". If a Twitter user tweets in China, he is liable to a prison sentence.
China steps up crackdown on Twitter users in the country, says report The Grouvy Today. Police in China are interrogating and detaining more and more people who use the service.
In interviews conducted by the Time, Twitter's Chinese users shared experiences of several hours of interrogations and threats against them, their families and even their unborn children.
Although the San Francisco-based service is banned in China, this has not prevented everyone living under authoritarian rule from accessing it. Human rights advocates have flocked to the platform, hoping to use Twitter to publicize the censorship and abuses that occur in the country.
During these interrogations, the Chinese police shared impressions of tweets posted by the detainee, which they wished to suppress. These positions generally criticized the Chinese government or Chinese President Xi Jinping in particular. Officers often asked the detainee to delete his Twitter account.
Activist Huang Chengcheng said The temperature that his hands and feet were chained to a chair during his interrogation before finally signing an agreement to stay on Twitter. The ordeal lasted eight hours.
Another Chinese Twitter user, Pan Xidian, published a dissident cartoonist's work and criticized the country's crackdown. Even though he had only 4,000 subscribers on Twitter, he was summoned for an interrogation in November. After an interrogation of 20 hours, he agreed to delete a number of tweets. The officers then presented themselves at his place of work while he had been released. Police threw the 47-year-old construction worker into a car and ordered him to sign documents stating that he had disrupted the social order and that he was in detention. He was forced to watch propaganda videos for two weeks in jail, all for the crime of posting on Twitter.
A young activist presented the audio of his four – hour interview resulting from a tweet about the environment. After notifying the Twitter user that everything he's doing on the Internet is being monitored, the agent advised him to stop posting on the network because he's getting caught a second time, it will affect his children – if he already has one.
China's response to its Twitter users is extremely cumbersome, especially considering the number of people in the country they target. According to a study conducted by the Hertie School of Governance in Germany, only 0.4% of Chinese Internet users using the population are on the platform. Chinese users of Twitter account for about 3.2 million people out of about 800 million Chinese Internet users. A large majority of Chinese citizens do not even see the content published by Chinese users of Twitter.