Chinese blogger Chou Ziming (???) was detained for voicing doubts on his Weibo posts about China’s official description that 4 PLA soldiers died in the clash with the Indian army last June. He is charged for being disrespectful about China’s law on the Protection of Heroes and Martyrs.
Similarly, A Nanjing blogger, Qiu Ziming, quizzed the official death toll given by Chinese authorities, and the eight-month delay before issuing an official statement. Qiu stated that as per international sources around 45 Chinese soldiers had died. Qui was alleged of “picking quarrels and causing trouble”, a roughly defined delinquency that carries 10 years in jail. This law is frequently used against journalists and activists. Qiu’s Weibo account, which had more than 2.5 million followers, has since been suspended. Russia’s TASS news agency had revealed that 44 Chinese soldiers died in the skirmish with the Indian troops.
Chinese authorities issued multiple warnings after noticing a surge in social media posts questioning the number of deaths that happened. One such warning “ On February 22, Public Security Bureau Nanming Branch issued a police report (translated from Mandarin):
“At 8 o’clock in the morning on February 21, 2021, the Nanming Public Security Bureau’s Network Security Brigade discovered through an online inspection that some netizens made remarks in the WeChat Moments that slandered and insulted the heroes protecting the border. In response, Nanming Public Security launched an investigation. At 10 o’clock that morning, the netizen (male, 30 years old, from Guiyang) was found in a house in Huaguoyuan, Nanming District. Daimou admitted that he made prohibited comments. According to Article 26, Paragraph 4 of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Public Security Administration Punishments, the Nanming Public Security Bureau imposed administrative detention on behalf of a person who violated the law for 13 days. The case is in further processing.”
On Feb 23 2021 after noticing the surge in public resentment, China forced new rules to crush digital dissent. The new rules are the tightest restrictions to date on the publication of online content including a short video and social media posts. CCP’s latest escalation of its ongoing crackdown on public discourse that strays from the party line.
The country’s internet watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), has issued new regulations requiring bloggers, influencers and content creators on social media accounts, known as “self-media,” to get permission from the government if they want to publish anything related to a host of sensitive issues including government communication. Other social media categories such as trending charts, hot search lists, push notifications and short video platforms will also be impacted. The CAC did not, however, provide detail on what kind of punishment will be doled out for violators.