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DISGWITTER OF THE WEAK! Chinese Woman Gets One Year Of Hard Labor For RT

November 19th, 2010 | 4 comments | Posted by Jen

What’s the price of a Tweet?

As Twitter attempts to drum up another round of financing at the valuation of $3 billion, that’s what potential investors want to know.

But for 46 year-old Chinese woman, Cheng Jianping, aka @wangyi09, the price of a Tweet is valued at one year in a labor camp.

Last month, Cheng RT’ed a message (see above) originally posted by her fiance, Hua Chunhui, satirically suggesting that young Chinese nationalists who had been staging recent anti-Japanese rallies should attack the Japanese pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo. They were both arrested not long after on the day they were to be married; Hua was released five days later. That Cheng was sentenced to a year of hard labor without a trial while Hua was not may have to do with the fact that Cheng has gotten into trouble for her social media activity in the past. From the NY Times:

Widely known by the online name Wang Yi, Ms. Cheng is avidly followed by a small coterie of Chinese intellectuals who subscribe to Twitter, which is blocked in China but can be reached by those willing to burrow beneath the government’s firewall. Most recently Ms. Cheng sent out messages praising the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the imprisoned rights activist Liu Xiaobo. Last August, she was briefly detained after expressing sympathy for a detained democracy advocate, Liu Xianbin.

While Chinese users of Twitter are subjected to a 140 character-limit like the rest of us, in Chinese, one character equals one word, so the limit roughly translates to 140 words. For this reason, Twitter has become popular in China among political activists.

Counting spaces and punctuation, the Tweet that landed Cheng in a labor camp for a year was 79 characters, which roughly translates to 4.6 days of imprisonment per word.

[NY Times: Chinese Woman Imprisoned for Twitter Message]
[Cheng Jianping on Twitter]

Thanks, Jasmine!

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