Liang Qinhui in a file photo.
Photo courtesy of Boxun.com
Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong are moving ahead with the trial of a netizen for “incitement to subvert state power” after he posted “sensitive” tweets to social media, his lawyer said.
Liang Qinhui, also known by his online nickname “Sharp Knife,” was detained by police in Guangdong’s provincial capital Guangzhou in April, and his case has now been transferred to the municipal state prosecution service, his fiancee told RFA on Tuesday.
“His case has already been transferred to the procuratorate for the indictment,” Liang’s fiancee, who gave only a surname Fu, said.
“It is all because of a single line of text he posted online,” she said.
Liang’s comment was an apparent reference to the Mao-era description of the United States as “capitalist running dogs,” and comes against a background of underground satirical cartoons in the style of George Orwell’s Animal Farm showing pigs dressed as ruling Chinese Communist Party officials.
“He said that he’d rather be an American dog than a Chinese pig,” Fu said. “It says in the indictment that the charges against him are based on that one phrase.”
Liang is accused of posting “sensitive and extreme” comments to the popular chatroom site QQ, according to the indictment, Fu said.
It also says his postings “show evidence of foreign influence,” quoting his post as saying that he’d rather be an American dog than a Chinese person, she said.
The indictment also cites a post Liang wrote titled “I won’t be a descendant of Marx and Lenin,” which was posted on a public chatroom in QQ “attracting widespread public attention,” Fu said.
Liang also stands accused of using circumvention tools, including Freegate, to access overseas websites normally blocked by China’s censorship system, collectively known as the Great Firewall.
He also downloaded photos and altered them to include slogans calling on people to “save Chinese compatriots from the Chinese communist bandits,” the indictment said.
Liang’s lawyer Tan Chenshou rejected the charges against his client.
“This is really unbelievable,” Tan said on Tuesday. “The charges say that Liang Qinhui edited some photos he downloaded and put them into his chatroom on QQ, for unspecified people to view, but whether or not these people were influenced by them, the indictment doesn’t say.”
“There is no evidence to show that they were,” Tan said. “Personally, I don’t think his actions amount to criminal behavior.”
“This has to do with the ruling party’s policies on limiting the scope of freedom of expression.”
Tan said Liang has admitted to doing everything listed in the indictment, but says he hasn’t broken any laws.
“He thinks that both the previous charge of picking quarrels and stirring up trouble, and the charge of incitement to subvert state power are unthinkable,” Tan said.
Tan said that, for a trial to go ahead, the court must accept the case.
“We haven’t heard any notification of any kind from the court yet,” he said.
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