Outspoken Singer Detained Over Explosion Remarks

AP reports that Wu Hongfei, singer for the Beijing-based rock outfit Happy Avenue (幸福大街)has been detained for comments that she posted on her Weibo account:

Police have detained an activist singer who wrote that she wanted to blow up a government agency seen as inept, a friend said Wednesday. The singer’s supporters said she would never have carried out the threat and is being targeted for her critical views.

Wu Hongfei was detained Monday by Beijing police on the charge of “causing trouble,” likely because of a post on her microblog, said Hu Jia, an activist who is friends with Wu.

[…]Last weekend, Wu wrote on her microblog that she would like to blow up government housing commission offices. In the post since removed by censors, Wu berated those who work for the agency.

She did not explain the reason for her post, but in an era when many young Chinese adults are complaining about difficulty buying homes, such agencies are widely perceived as being ineffective in ensuring the supply of affordable homes. [Source]

Wu’s Weibo post came as part of the wave of online support expressed for Ji Zhongxing, the 33-year-old man who detonated a homemade explosive at the Beijing airport last weekend, apparently in a desperate act of protest to win compensation for police brutality that left him paralyzed and wheelchair-bound. As the AP report cites friend and activist Hu Jia mentioning that Wu has been “singled out… partly because she has been outspoken on social ills in the past,” Radio Free Asia’s coverage of Wu’s detention quotes Human Rights Watch on Wu’s past bluntness:

[…T]he New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Wu’s detention is probably politically motivated after her previous criticisms of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

“The Chinese government has frequently used criminal charges to punish and intimidate individuals for expressing opinions critical of the government,” HRW researcher Maya Wong told the Associated Press.

“Wu has been very outspoken in the past, and it is hard not to suspect that her criminal detention is the result of political retribution.” [Source]

After a man was arrested earlier this week for stabbing family planning officials in Guangxi province, a Chinese academic told the Global Times that some recent acts of violence reflect “the twisted relationship between the public and certain government officials.”


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