This sentence seems pretty harsh even by Chinese standards:
China has sentenced a woman to a year in a labor camp for “disrupting social order” by retweeting a satirical message urging Chinese protesters to smash the Japan pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, an international rights group said.
Cheng Jianping, 46, re-posted a message from the social networking site Twitter last month hinting that Chinese protesters should smash the Japan pavilion at the Shanghai Expo and adding on the message “Angry youth, charge!” according to Amnesty International, which condemned the sentence in a statement late Thursday.
Amnesty and Cheng’s fiance said her retweet was meant as satire, mocking anti-Japanese protesters who had grown in number since tensions between the countries increased after a dispute erupted in September over islands claimed by both Japan and China.
“Sentencing someone to a year in a labor camp, without trial, for simply repeating another person’s clearly satirical observation on Twitter demonstrates the level of China’s repression of online expression,” Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director Sam Zarifi said in a statement. [Associated Press]
Considering that the Tweet involved protesting the Japanese you would think that the Chinese government could care less about this? That is why I figured there was more to this story and there was:
Cheng’s fiance, Hua Chunhui, said he thought the government reacted the way it did to the tweet was because they are activists. The two had planned to get their marriage license Oct. 28, the same day Cheng was detained.
“My personal opinion is that this sentencing wasn’t about this one statement. The government wants to make an example of us activists,” said Hua, who lives in Wuxi in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu. “The government doesn’t like what we do. We actively communicate with other Chinese activists and celebrated on Twitter Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel prize.”
So in actuality the Tweet had little to do with why she was sentenced. She was sentenced because of her activism in support of Liu Xiaobo, which is hardly a surprise.