Even beyond China’s Great Firewall, Twitter is not always a safe haven for the country’s more outspoken critics. Just before the 18th Party Congress began, Zhai Xiaobing, a fund manager in Beijing, was arrested for a tweet deemed to “spread false terrorist information” (涉嫌散布虚假恐怖信息):
#剧透推 #慎入 死神来了6即将上映。大会堂突然倒塌，正在开会的2000多人只有7人幸免，事后却又一一离奇死亡。是上帝的游戏，还是死神的怒火，神秘数字18怎样开启地狱之门？11月8日全球院线震撼登场！
— 星河舰队 (@Stariver) November 5, 2012
#SpoilerTweet #Enter-at-your-own-peril “Final Destination 6” has arrived. In which the Great Hall of the People collapses all of a sudden. All 2,000+ people meeting there died except for 7 of them. But afterwards, the seven die one after another in bizarre ways. Is it a game of God, or the wrath of Death? How will 18, the mysterious number, unlock the gate of Hell? Premieres globally on November the 8th to bring you an earthshaking experience! (translated by Yaxue Cao)
Zhai has not been released since his November 7 detention. An online petition [zh] for his release, signed by prominent Chinese activists such as Ai Weiwei and Hu Jia, has collected 419 signatures as of this posting. “We hope the the Beijing police shows a sense of humor and do not create a big incident out of a small issue,” writes petition author Bei Feng (Wen Yunchao). “In particular, do not ruin the image of the new leadership soon after the 18th Party Congress.” Zhai’s is not the first Twitter-related arrest in China.
Zhai, whose Twitter handle is @Stariver, studied ancient (pre-Qin) literature at Peking University, and formerly worked in the media. His acerbic tweets make no excuses for the violence and corruption in China, while images of armed police in Lhasa streets and protests in Hong Kong against patriotic education mingle with cat and food photos. Yaxue Cao of Seeing Red in China writes, “In Twitter’s Chinese community, @Stariver is known for his cool and biting
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